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Women of Color Face a Wider, More Stubborn Pay Gap

The wage gap for Latinas and Black women not only is wider than the gender wage gap for white women but also is projected to take more than eight times longer to close completely, according to a new report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). 

The 2020 update to AAUW’s report, The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap, found the following: 

  • The amount that white women were paid for every dollar paid to white non-Hispanic men increased from 64 cents in 1988 to 79 cents today—a 23% increase. 
  • Black women, who were paid 59 cents on the white, non-Hispanic men’s dollar in 1988, are now paid just 63 cents, an increase of just 7%.
  • Latinas saw their pay ratio increase the least at only 4%, from 53 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in 1988 to 55 cents today. 

Based on this pace of change, the gender wage gap for white women is projected to close in about 50 years. But it will take seven times longer than that—350 years—before Black women achieve pay equity with white, non-Hispanic men, and more than eight times longer—432 years—for Latinas. 

“It is frustrating that women are still confronting such a persistent gender wage gap, but it is beyond disheartening that the gap is still so significantly wider for women of color and has remained stubbornly so for such a long time,” says Kim Churches, AAUW’s CEO. 

“As if further proof were needed, this illustrates that, in addition to dealing with sexism, women of color are facing structural, systemic racism that presents an enormous threat to their economic security. We need to immediately tackle these workplace issues head on if we hope to correct the social and economic injustices that women of this country confront.” 

The Simple Truth update also found that while increased education tends to shrink the wage gap for white women, this is not the case for women of color: 

  • Black women who graduated high school earned 66% of what similarly educated white, non-Hispanic men earned. When they completed a bachelor’s degree, that earnings ratio dropped to 65%.
  • Latinas who graduated high school earned 67% of what white, non-Hispanic men high school graduates earned—a number that dropped to 63% upon graduating with their bachelor’s degree.
  • Native American women who earned a high school diploma earned 67% of what white, non-Hispanic men earned. That number fell to 59% for Native American women with a bachelor’s degree. 

Pay Gap Resources 
Learn more about the gender wage gap, including who’s affected, what’s behind it and what needs to be done to close it, in AAUW’s The Simple Truth About The Gender Pay Gap.

Get pay gap data on a state-by-state level.

Source: American Association of University Women