If You’re A Black Woman Working In Utah Beware
Black women don’t fare well economically nationwide, considering they still earn just .64 cents for every dollar a white man earns. But Utah ranks as one of the worst for Black women. There Black women receive just 60 cents for every dollar earned by white men. In fact, a new study found that Utah’s wage gap for Black women is the 10th worst in the U.S. When looking at the gender wage gap in general across the U.S., Utah follows Louisiana (34.7 percent gap) with a 32.4 percent. According the U.S. News & World Report, Utah is followed by North Dakota (28.7 percent); Alabama (27.4 percent); Idaho (27.2 percent); Oklahoma (26.5 percent); Montana (25.8 percent); Michigan (25.5 percent); Indiana (24.8 percent); and New Hampshire (24.3 percent).
“According to a study by the Washington, D.C.- based National Women’s Law Center, Black women in Utah can expect to lose $950,720 to the wage gap over the course of a 40-year career. It’s the 10th largest gap in the nation,” reported The Salt Lake Tribune. Breaking it down to hard cash, this means on average, a 40-year wage loss would amount to a whopping $877,480 or a loss of $21,937 a year. So Black women must work nearly 20 months just to make what white, non-Hispanic men earn in 12 months. Incredibly, it means Black women in the state must also work 72 years to earn what a white male makes in only 40 years. And no matter the education level of the Black woman, she still suffers from the wage gap in Utah. The National Women’s Law Center study found this is the case in a variety of occupations, even in some high-wage earning positions. For instance, African-American doctors and surgeons make 52 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men; meanwhile Black women working as customer service representatives make 79 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
And it’s not just Black women who are affected, their children are as well. Since their mothers earn less, Black children have fewer opportunities in nutrition and education, according to Debra Daniels, Director of the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Utah. “That has a long-term effect on our community,” said Daniels, who is the vice president of the Women’s Enrollment Initiative that seeks to attract women to the university.
Many in Utah are seeking change as a result. Said Emily Martin, the law center’s vice president for workplace justice, “If we don’t act now to ensure equal pay, for many women of color, the cost of the lifetime wage gap will come close to a million dollars. We literally can’t afford to ignore this.”