Black women lose $1m in gender pay gap over a lifetime

·2-min read

Black women are typically paid only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white men, losing close to $1m in earnings over a lifetime.

On average, Black women lose $2,009 each month, $24,110 annually, and over a 40-year career, an eye-watering $964,400, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center.

The NWLC is a non-profit organisation that seeks to protect women’s legal rights through policy change. Its latest report shows that the gender wage gap has closed by only three cents for Black women over the last 30 years.

That means a Black women on average, has to work until August 3 this year – Black Women’s Equal Pay Day – to make as much as a white, non-Hispanic man would have made last year alone.

The NWLC report read: “Black workers have always faced discrimination in the US workforce, even as they helped literally build America and provided the foundations for its economy.

“This pay gap is especially stark for Black women, who face not only race discrimination, but also sex discrimination.”

The Covid pandemic, which has hit Black women disproportionately hard, has made matters worse. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the IWPR, told Good Morning America last year: “When we have a pandemic and then the economic downturn, there’s less money to ride out an economic storm, less money that they’re bringing home, especially if their hours have been cut.”

She added: “Some people think that the pay gap doesn’t exist or you don’t really feel it, but women feel it every day in their wallets, every day when they go to work and bring home less, or during an economic downturn or job loss. They don’t have the money they need to be able to provide for their families.”

Ms Mason said the federal government and employers should both play a role in closing the pay gap for Black women and putting an end to workplace discrimination.

“Employers have a role to play in terms of making sure there is pay equity and making sure that women across the board earn what they’re worth and the skills and talents they bring to the table,” she said.

“And as a culture and a society, we have a lot of work to do in terms of breaking gender stereotypes around women in the workplace, their value and how much women should be paid for their work.”

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