There has been much talk about the gender wage gap — that women in the United States are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men on average. But what’s not discussed as much is the wage gap as it applies to minority women. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, African-American women earn just 70 cents for every dollar paid to men and just 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, reports The Huffington Post. “What’s more: It’s happening in the 20 states with the largest number of African-American women working full-time and year round, studies show,” writes the site.
Some government officials and economists have been trying to find solution to the wage gap in general, and some experts have suggested that closing the gender wage gap would create a huge economic stimulus. But a report by the National Partnership for Women & Families says that pay equality is still a long way off — particularly for women of color, reports HuffPo.
“These new data show that the wage gap is costing women of color thousands of dollars in critical income each year that could be spent on food, rent, health care and on meeting other fundamental needs for their families,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, in a release. The Partnership study found that “closing the wage gap would afford a working African-American woman more than two years’ worth of food; almost 10 months’ worth of mortgage and utilities payments; more than 16 months of rent; more than three years’ worth of family health insurance premiums; or 4,549 additional gallons of gas, each year.”
Experts stress that policymakers must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and develop more ways “to either push women into higher-paying fields where the men are, or to make sure jobs women do hold are valued in the same way,” Heather Boushey, senior economist the Center for American Progress, told the Huffington Post last year.