The wage gap: terrible for all women, even worse for women of color; Tuesday was ‘Equal Pay Day’

By: Lydia O’Connor Reporter, The Huffington Post

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A woman carries a sign for equal pay as she marches with other protestors in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of an expanding national movement known as Fight for 15, Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in Miami. The event was part of a national protest day to coincide with the April 15 deadline for filing income taxes. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

How much does being a woman cost over a lifetime? A lot more if she’s Latina.
Tuesday was Equal Pay Day — the day that marks how far into the year full-time employed women have to work in order to earn what their male counterparts earned in the year prior. To mark the occasion, the National Women’s Law Center released a report showing how much the wage gap costs women over their lifetime. The findings, released earlier this month, are based on 2014 U.S. Census data showing the difference between women’s and men’s median annual earnings for full-time, year-round employees, multiplied by 40 years. The data comes from a Census study that does not take immigration status into account, meaning it doesn’t make distinctions about whether or not people are undocumented.
We’re often reminded that women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn, but what sometimes gets lost is that the gap is much worse for Latinas, black women and other women of color. Here are some of the NWLC’s most jarring takeaways about being a woman of color working in the U.S.:
Women overall lose out on more than $400,000 over the course of their careers, but most women of color are shorted more than double that.
Men out-earn women in all 50 states and in Washington D.C. For full-time, year-round employees nationwide, women earn a median annual $39,621 compared to men’s $50,383 — a yearly difference of $10,762. If a woman works for 40 years, then, that adds up to a lifetime shortfall of $430,480 as compared to a man.
But most women of color can expect to lose out on a lot more. When compared to the earnings of white men, that wage loss figure rises to $883,040 for Native American women, $877,480 for black women and $1,007,080 for Latinas.
The gap is smaller — though still nowhere near equitable — for Asian-American women, whose lifetime wage difference compared to white men totals $365,440. So, you know, just a third of a million dollars, instead of an actual million dollars.
In a shocking number of states, white men earn more than twice as much as Latinas.
There are 12 states, or about a quarter of the country, where Latinas on average earn less than half of what white men make per year. In order from greatest lifetime wage gap to least, these states are New Jersey, California, Maryland, Connecticut, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois, Rhode Island, Utah, Georgia and Alabama.
For black women, the above is true only in Louisiana, and for Native American women it’s only true in Delaware. There are no states where, overall, men earn twice as much per year as women, and no states where white men earn twice as much as Asian-American women.
Our nation’s capital is setting a horrible example.
At first glance, Washington, D.C., doesn’t look like one of the most dire environments. With lifetime wage losses for women overall totaling $288,560, it’s the seventh best state for working women.
But when lifetime wage loss for black women and Latinas is stacked up against the lifetime earnings of white men, D.C. comes in dead last. It’s also the second worst for Asian-American women and eighth worst for Native American women.

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