Black Women Lose Out Over $1 Million in Their Careers Thanks to the Wage Gap - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

A black woman will lose out on $946,120 over a 40-year career if she continues to make 61 cents on the dollar that every white man earns due to the wage gap, analysis by The National Women’s Law Center shows.

“Assuming she and her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart begin work at age 20, a black woman would have to work until she is 86 years old to catch up to what a white, non-Hispanic man has been paid by age 60,” the press release states.

The National Women’s Law Center found that black women face even larger pay disparity in certain states.  In the state of Louisiana, black women are paid on average 47 cents for every dollar their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts make, which is the worst state for black women’s wage equality.

“There’s a significant racial wealth gap in America and black women’s wage gap certainly plays a role in it,” said Emily Martin, vice president for Education & Workplace Justice. “For many black women, the cost of the lifetime wage gap comes close to a million dollars—and in some states it’s more.  It’s time for the Senate to follow the lead of the House and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Women and their families literally can’t wait any longer.”


Advanced education among black women has not been shown to lower the wage gap, in fact, the gap is largest for the most educated black women.  Doctorate degree holders who are black women tend to make 60% of what their white, male counterparts make.

“Black women have the highest student loan debt of any racial or ethnic group. For an undergraduate degree, the average black woman carries nearly $30,400 in debt, compared to $19,500 for white men. The wage gap lessens black women’s ability to pay off educational debt, creating an additional barrier to saving money that could be used to buy a home, start a business, or used for emergencies,” the report stated.