Moving Up A Slippery Slope

The struggle continues for black women managers seeking economic quality. According to a recent study by Catalyst, “Women of Color in Corporate Management,” black women are underrepresented in management, particularly in the highest-paying fields, and earn less than their white and Asian counterparts.

According to the study, minority women make up 22.7% of the total U.S. workforce, but only 14.3% of them have managerial-level private-sector jobs. African American women are the most underrepresented women-of-color subgroup. They make up 12.1% of the overall female workforce, but only 6.6% of women managers.

Overall, women managers earn significantly less than men. For every $1 that white male managers make, white women earn 59 cents and women of color make 57 cents. Asian women — the best educated group of women managers — are the highest paid, earning an average of $593 a week. Hispanic women, on the other hand, have the lowest levels of deucational attainment and earn the least, averaging only $423 a week. But while African American women managers are better educated than their counterparts, they earn less, $514 vs. $528 per week.

About 60% of women of color managers are clustered in three of the lowest-paying industries: retail trade, professional-related services and F.I.R.E. (finance, insurance and real estate).


Of the 2.9 Million Women in Managerial Workforce… ..
White 0.857
African American 6.6%
Hispanic 0.052
Asian/Other 0.025
Professional Related Services
All Men 8.3
Asian/Other Women 18.7
African American Women 24.6
White Women 28.9
Hispanic Women 18
Retail Trade
All Men 13
Asian/Other Women 14.7
African American Women 15.1
White Women 18.1
Hispanic Women 19
Finance, Insurance, and real estate (F.I.R.E.)
All Men 11
Asian/Other Women 16.1
African American Women 17.5
White Women 15.5
Hispanic Women 24.8
White Men 100
White Women 59
Asian/Other Men 91
Asian/Other Women 67
African American Men 65
African American Women 58
Hispanic Men 65
Hispanic Women 48
Source: Catalyst, New YOrk, 1997

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