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7 facts about Black women and the pay gap in the labor force

Posted by Amber Boyd | Oct 10, 2022 | 0 Comments

Due to long-standing educational and labor market disparities, Black women have historically experienced a pay gap despite being an essential component of the American workforce. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionately negative effect on them.

Some facts concerning Black women in the workforce are as follows:

  1. Black women are amongst the most affected groups by the pandemic:

The United States has not only relied on Black women as vital workers to support families throughout the pandemic, provide much-needed services, and keep the economy running, but it has also watched as these women bear the brunt of disproportionate job losses and caregiving challenges while earning only a small portion of what their white and male counterparts earn.

2.  In comparison to white, non-Hispanic men, Black women make 63 cents for every dollar:

After Native American women (60%) and Hispanic women (55.4%), Black women's wages are 63.0% of white, non-Hispanic men's earnings. In contrast, Asian women make 87.1% of what white, non-Hispanic males make, while Asian women make 78.7%.

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3. The gender pay gap could be far worse than what we think for Black women:

Every year, the ratio of women's to men's full-time, year-round median earnings is determined, and the difference is used to compute the gender wage gap. As a result, the gender wage gap cannot, by definition, account for the experiences of those who do not work full-time or throughout the year as a big percentage of Black women do. This is a problem with this statistic regardless of the year, but given the tremendous labor market disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it is an especially difficult situation to have in order to provide trustful information on the matter. 

4. Education differences alone are not the cause of this pay gap: 

Black women still earn less than their white male colleagues, even after accounting for schooling. Black women, for example, only make 65% of what comparable White men do with a bachelor's degree. Additionally, Black women earn 70% less than White males among those with advanced degrees. In actuality, white males with merely a bachelor's degree earn more money each week than Black women with postgraduate degrees.

5. Black women participate in the workforce at the highest rate of any group of women:

Black women typically participate in the labor force at higher rates than other women, which indicates that a greater proportion of Black women are either employed or unemployed and seeking work. For instance, the labor force participation rate for Black women in 2019 was 60.5%, compared to 56.8% for White women. Their labor force participation rate was 58.8% even in 2020, when the epidemic was in full swing, as opposed to 56.2% for all women.

6. There is a long list of reasons why the pay gap exists that analysis tends to sweep under the rug:

The many elements that contribute to salary inequities for women, and women of color, in particular, are not taken into consideration in analyses. They include the "motherhood penalty," occupational crowding based on sex, gender socialization, employer bias, and previous union exclusionary policies. Additionally, these assessments and others do not properly take into consideration the numerous and diverse effects of centuries of racial discrimination against Black Americans, which are still very much in evidence today. 

7. High unemployment rates have also affected Black women, especially after the epidemic:

The unemployment rate for Black women was 10.9% in 2020, compared to 7.6% for White women and 8.3% for All Women. This is undoubtedly a reflection of the significant job losses and sluggish job recovery this group has been experiencing since early 2020, but even before the pandemic, their unemployment rate was higher (5.6%) than that of women who are white (3.2%), Asian (2.7%), or Hispanic (4.7%).

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The majority of Black women experience larger gender wage discrepancies, which highlights how far they still have to go to achieve economic, racial, and gender parity. In order to ensure that their experiences are not only recognized but also that the disparities they face are addressed, it is crucial to actively place Black women at the center of talks about the economy, earnings, and the wage gap. The U.S. economy depends heavily on their contributions. It's finally time they are paid equally. 

Get the representation you need, Contact Amber K. Boyd Attorney at Law at 317-210-3416 if you believe your rights as a worker are being violated. The time to act is now.

About the Author

Amber Boyd

Amber K. Boyd is a versatile professional with strong experience in managing complex litigation matters. She founded Amber K. Boyd Attorney at Law in 2013, where she is the sole practitioner. Ms. Boyd specializes in employment law with a focus on discrimination cases. She also has deep expertise ...


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