The Gender Pay Gap; Even Worse For Women Of Color

People carry bags reading 'equal pay day' during a protest a day before International Women's Day, in Bern

In the wake of Equal Pay Day, it’s important to keep in mind…that the pay gap is not a myth. To mark the occasion of Equal Pay Day, the National Women’s Law Center came out with a report showing how much the gap costs women over their lifetime. The findings are based on 2014 U.S. census data highlighting the difference between women’s and men’s median annul earnings for full-time, year-round employees, and then multiplied by 40 years. Keep in mind, the data does not take immigration status into account, meaning it does not make distinctions between whether people are undocumented or not. There is a constant reminder of 79 cents for every dollar men earn, but that gap is larger for black women, Latinas, and other women of color.

Women overall lose out on more than $400,000 over the course of their careers, but a majority of women of color are shorted more than double that. Women earn a median annual of $39,621 compared to men’s $50,383, which is a yearly difference of $10,762. Supposing a woman works 40 years, that adds up to a shortfall of $430,480 as compared to a man. When the comparison is drawn between white men and Native American women, that loss rises up to $883,040. It then adds up to $877,480 for black women and $1,007,080 for Latina women. The gap is smaller, but still highly unacceptable, for Asian-American women, whose wage loss figures to $365,440. Which is, you know, just a third of a million, as opposed to a whole one million.

In twelve states, white men earn more than twice as much as Latinas, which is roughly a quarter of the country. For black women, this is only true in Louisiana and for Native American women, this is true only in Delaware. There are no states where where white men earn twice as much as Asian-American women.

The kicker in all of this? Our nation’s capital is, quite frankly, setting an atrocious example. At first it doesn’t look totally terrible, with lifetime wage losses for women totaling $288,560,  it is the seventh best place for working women. However, when wage losses for black and Latina women is stacked against the earnings of white men, D.C. comes in dead last. It also happens to be the second worst for Asian-American women and eighth worst for Native American women.


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