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In pay equity, race still stacked against women of color

In pay equity, race still stacked against women of color

FINANCIAL NEWS

In pay equity, race still stacked against women of color

We reflect each March on women’s pay in the USA and how long into the new year a woman must work to earn the same as a non-Hispanic white man.By summer, those speeches and stories are likely a distant memory. But for most women of color, their pay equity day is still weeks or months away. Add a historic pandemic to the mix, and the long-term outlook grows bleaker.The race to equal pay has been more a marathon than a sprint in the six decades since the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963. On Aug. 3, a Black woman’s pay in 2020, plus 214 days in 2021, equaled a white man’s pay last year, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity.While track and field events are in full swing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this week, here’s a way to view how large that pay gap remains.First, you’ll notice the white man’s lane (No. 1) is filled with more coin icons for him to collect as he passes by. In the 2020 race, five coins are placed in his lane for every four coins, on average, in the women’s lanes.That mirrors median pay for all women who worked full time throughout 2019: an average of 82% of men’s pay, according to the Census Bureau. A 2021 Pew Research study says little changed in 2020 for full- and part-time workers – even amid the economic turmoil stemming from the pandemic.The gap has been cut in half since the 1960s, but, by some estimates, we’re still four decades away from parity.The white man collects all 366 coin icons (2020 was a Leap Year) well ahead of the rest of the field.Of course, the occupations and businesses that make up the U.S. economy are much more diverse than six digital runners or a single set of numbers. “I think it’s important when we’re talking about data that we look at the entire picture. So the raw wage gap numbers is not a measure of equal pay for equal work. It’s a comparison of averages,” freshman Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., told the House Oversight Committee in March.Still, 2019 Census figures show that women generally trail men in a variety of occupations.The Asian and white, non-Hispanic women runners will cross the finish line many steps after the white man does.The Asian woman will collect 85 coins for every 100 the white man collected while the white woman will collect 79. That’s close to the 82-cent average earned by all U.S. women in 2019, according to the census.Black, Native American and Hispanic runners will be even more steps behind.Average pay for Black women working full-time jobs will reach an average white man’s pay for 2020 nearly three-fifths of the way into 2021. Pay equity for 2020 takes even longer for the other women to achieve: Sept. 8 for Native American women and Oct. 2 for Hispanic women.Even without a history of pay inequity, it doesn’t take long for the 2021 coins piling up under the white man to create a wealth gap alongside a pay gap.At the starting line (January 2020), few could have predicted the coronavirus pandemic and the widespread economic fallout the world experienced while trying to contain the virus.All groups in America experienced historic job losses during the spring, but women of color faced higher rates of unemployment and Black and Hispanic women left the job market entirely at higher rates than the rest of the working population.”During the coronavirus pandemic, we saw how women disproportionately shouldered the burden of care.” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said in March.”Far too many women go without access to paid leave and affordable child care options, and as a result, many are forced to decide between losing income or caring for their family – and many have lost their jobs entirely,” Maloney said, noting women of color shoulder most of the family responsibilities.The Center For American Progress reported that the pandemic’s economic fallout left Black households deeper in debt, and they were more likely to fall behind on their mortgages than their white peers. The report, exclusive to USA TODAY, follows. Contributing: Savannah Behrmann, Charisse JonesStories like this are possible because of our subscribers like you. Your support will allow us to continue to produce quality journalism.Stay up to date by signing up for one of our newsletters.Sign upPublished
5:08 pm UTC Aug. 3, 2021
Updated
5:08 pm UTC Aug. 3, 2021


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