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Survey: Black Women’s Equal Pay Day research reinforces the pay gap is much worse for black women


In recognition of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on Aug. 22, LeanIn.org released the findings of a new survey that show the pay gap is just the tip of the iceberg for women of color. While many people don’t realize the severity of the gap, LeanIn.org co-founder and CEO Rachel Thomas said it’s certainly felt by black women and their families.

The significance of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is that black women would need to work through 2018 until Aug. 22, 2019, to make what white men made in 2018 alone. The surveyfindingssurmise that regardless of their occupation, level of education or years of experience, black women are still paid less than white men.

Here are some relevant findings from the survey:

  • On average, black women in the U.S. are paid 39% less than white men and 21% less than white women.

  • One in three Americans is not aware of the pay gap that exists between black women and white men, while 53% did not know a gap existed between black women and white women. The biggest pay gap exists in the legal profession, where black women make 56% less than white men.

  • Black women are doing their part. According to the survey, black women ask for raises and promotions just as often as white women, but they get worse results.

  • The pay gap actually widens for women with advanced education. The biggest gaps occur among black women and white men with bachelor’s and advanced degrees.

  • The pay gap for black women starts at age 16 and widens as they grow older.

The conclusion? Lower earnings for black women means less money for their families, especially since more than 80% of black mothers are the main breadwinners for their households. This affects their ability to buy groceries, pay for child care, invest in their children’s education and more.

LeanIn.org suggests four things companies can do to eliminate the gender pay gap, including conduct a pay audit, ensure that hiring and promotions are fair, make sure women have opportunities for advancement, and make it normal for women to negotiate. The organization also offers negotiation tips for women.

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