Based on U.S. median salaries, white and Asian women work about 16 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months.
Now, in August, Black women have caught up.
August 22 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, a campaign drawing attention to the fact that Black women must work, on average, 20 months to earn what white men receive in 12.
Here are five facts about the wage gap.
- According to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau data, Black women across the United States who consistently work full-time for one year are paid 61 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. “This persistent, pervasive wage gap is driven in part by gender and racial discrimination, workplace harassment, job segregation and a lack of workplace policies that support family caregiving, which is still most often performed by women,” The National Partnership for Women & Families (National Partnership) argues in a 2019 report. “Overall, women employed full time, year-round are typically paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men.”
- Black women in Louisiana experience the largest wage gap, earning 48 cents for each full-time, year-round dollar that white men receive.
- Black women who consistently work full-time, year-round lose today’s equivalent of about $840,040 (USD) because of the wage gap, according to a 2017 study by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) in 2017.
- That means Black women have to work an additional 29 years to make what a white man makes in 40, NWLC says. In other words, to retire with the same earnings as a man who has worked until the age of 60, Black women will have to work until the age of 89.
- According to a 2018 NWLC fact sheet, Black women with a Bachelor’s degree make less than men with an Associate’s degree ($52,439 and $54,700, respectively), even though Bachelor’s degrees require two additional years of education.
Wage and gender gaps in the workforce are the result of several factors, but equal pay awareness days attempt to level the playing field as much as possible by showing what full-time, equally skilled women make for the same hours of work, compared to the general population.
Native American and Latina women still aren’t able to celebrate equal pay day. They won’t reach parity until September 23 and November 20, respectively.