By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, Aug. 7, was a grim reminder of longstanding gender and racial income gaps, but data shows women who belong to unions fare much better than those who don’t.
“The income gap and pay disparities between men and women and women of color are harsh realities,” said Carmen Charles, Local 420 president, who chairs the union’s Women’s Committee.
“The sting of lower wages–and poverty–is especially felt by single mothers and their children,” Charles said.
The National Women’s Law Center notes that a college-educated black woman can lose about $870,000 in potential earnings over the course of her career.
In New York City, black women earn an estimated 57 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. “In a city like New York that touts its progressive ideals, it is an outrage that Black women in 2018 are still denied economic equality,” Comptroller Scott Stringer said.
The August Equal Pay date marks how much longer black women in the United States must work to catch up to the annual income a white man earned in 2017. Black women’s eight-month period is four months beyond the April 10 National Equal Pay date for white women.
Only Asian women, with an Equal Pay Day of Feb. 22, come closest to closing the income gap between women and men. Native American women will hit equal pay on Sept. 27, and Latinas lag even further, not reaching their equal pay date until Nov. 1.
Also, as women age, the pay lag follows them since Social Security benefits are based on a worker’s earnings over a lifetime. Their lower earnings can tarnish any golden years of retirement.