Mark 2130 on your calendars, it’s set to be a momentous year. Far from being the year we invent time travel, it’s the year Black women are finally projected to close the wage gap and catch up to White men’s earnings. And that milestone is set to arrive 110 years too late.
“That means my daughter and my daughter’s daughter will not see pay equity in their lifetimes,” said IWPR President and CEO C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D., underscoring the real-life impact of the gender pay gap.
Black women, on average, earn only 61.8 cents for every dollar earned by White men—a gender racial wage gap of 38.2 percent—but the size of that gap varies from state to state. The wage gap is smallest in the Aloha state (Hawaii), where Black women made just over 80 percent of White men’s earnings, and largest in the Pelican state (Louisiana), where Black women made a paltry 46.6 percent of White men’s earnings. Black women in the District of Columbia faced the biggest absolute annual earnings inequality, on average making $47,688 less per year in 2018 than White men.
In 2020, Black women’s average gender wage gap translated into lower annual earnings of $23,652. That’s about the annual cost of infant care in Washington, DC or the cost of tuition to a public, four-year college for an out-of-state student. Closing the gender racial pay gap would increase Black working mothers’ ability to pay for child care services, give more Black women the opportunity to pursue higher education, and promote the economic security of Black families. This shouldn’t take 100 years.
It’s time to end the gender racial pay gap and support the work and dreams of Black women and girls.
Echoing Mason’s call to action, “Let’s do it for us today, for them tomorrow.”