By Jazmin Goodwin

New York (CNN Business) – This year, Equal Pay Day falls on March 24, a date that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn the same as men did in the previous year.

The most recent estimates show women across the nation earned about 82 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to 2019 data from the US Census. That amount changes when broken down by race — with many women of color faring much worse.

White women earned 79 cents, while Asian American and Pacific Islander women earned 85 cents. Worse off are Black women, who earned 63 cents, while Latinas earned 55 cents and Native American women earned 60 cents. That’s according to a report from the National Women’s Law Center, which based its estimates on median earnings data for full-time, year-round workers from the Census Bureau.

In total, a woman starting her career today loses an average of $406,280 to the wage gap in their lifetime.

And that was before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has hit women hard — massively disrupting employment, childcare and school routines and reversing progress in the work force. It has driven millions of women out of the workforce.

So what’s next for women? CNN Business asked four women leaders for their take on where things stand and their hopes for what lies ahead.

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