The Gender Pay Gap Is Far Wider for Many Women of Color

A new report by the Center for American Progress examines the gender wage gap by racial/ethnic groups. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2018 women earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. This calculation is the ratio of median annual earnings for women working full time, year round to those of their male counterparts. Collectively, more than 55 million full-time working women earned an estimated $545.7 billion less than their male counterparts.

But when we break these figures down by racial and ethnic group, starling differences are exposed. For example, Asian American women earn 90 cents for every dollar earned by White men. White women earn 79 percent of what is earned by White men. But African American women earn only 62 cents to the dollar compared to the earnings of White men. Hispanics women earned only 54 cents for every dollar earned by White men.

If we look at the total number of dollars earned, we find that in 2018 White women earned $13,186 less than White men. Hispanic women earned on average $28,036 less in 2018 than White men. If we project how this annual wage gap affects lifetime earnings, we find that over the course of a 40-year career, Hispanic women will earn $1,121,440 less than White men.

The report concludes that “to begin to close the gender wage gap, women need updated comprehensive equal pay legislation that will strengthen existing protections and further combat discriminatory practices. Other robust work-family policies are also essential to truly combating the multifaceted gender wage gap so that women — who disproportionately assume much of the caregiving responsibilities in their families — are not unfairly disadvantaged by taking time to address care needs.”

The author adds that ‘beyond public policy, society must confront cultural biases that continue to harm women — particularly women of color — by devaluing their work and confining them to specific gender roles. Only by enacting essential policies and shifting cultural attitudes can the United States begin to dismantle the patriarchal structures that systematically disadvantage and short-change women and their families.”

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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