Newswire : Black women’s ‘equal pay day’ reminds us how persistent the wage gap is

Black women receive 67 cents to a white man’s dollar.
By: Casey Quinlan, Policy reporter at ThinkProgress.
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Monday, July 31 was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day that marks when black women are paid the same wages as their white male peers were paid last year. Black women are paid only 67 cents on the dollar relative to non-Hispanic white men, according to analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.
Black women could lose $840,040 over a 40-year career compared to non-Hispanic white men, according to the National Women’s Law Center, and in some states, that wage gap could lead to a loss over $1 million.
According to EPI, the wage gap for black women has only grown worse and black women are working more hours. Looking at the lowest wage workers, the annual hours black women work grew 30.5 percent between 1979 and 2015 compared to a 3.2 percent increase for white men.
Several black female celebrities and politicians brought attention to the pay gap on Monday, including Serena Williams, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY). “Black women are the cornerstone of our communities,” Williams tweeted.
The wage gap persists at all levels of education and in all occupations. Black women with advanced degrees still make $7 an hour less than white men who only have a bachelor’s degree and white male physicians and surgeons earn $18 per hour more than black female physicians and surgeons.
There are also significant state differences in the wage gap. Maine, Mississippi, Alabama, Nebraska, South Carolina, District of Columbia, Virginia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Missouri all had earnings ratios between white men and black women ranging from 59.7 percent to 55.2 percent. But Louisiana paid black women the worst in comparison to white men, at 46 percent. Black women’s median annual earnings tended to be lowest in southern states.
A 2016 Institute for Women’s Policy Research report shows why racial and ethnic differences in the pay gap tell us much more than simply looking at the pay gap by gender. The report found that the median weekly earnings for black women were $641 across occupations compared to $815 for white women and $1,025 for white men. Black men and Hispanic men made less than white women, at $718 and $633 respectively. Asian men and women had the highest median weekly earnings.
It would take a very long time for black women to reach pay equity with white men, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Black women would have to wait until 2124 for equal pay if wages continue to change at this slow pace. But policy experts do have suggestions for how to mitigate the wage gap.
Black women are subject to racial and gender biases in higher education, in the labor force, and in housing. Studies have found racial bias in how police use force on black men and women, and too often, police fail to help black women who are victims of crime. In a 96-page report released this year, “The Status of Black Women in the U.S.,” the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) recommended several approaches to improving the financial health and well being of black women.
The recommendations included: pursuing criminal justice reform, expanding Medicaid, providing more support to and recruitment of black female political candidates, and raising the minimum wage. The EPI analysis of the wage gap recommends raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024.

Serena Williams slams sexist tennis official’s misogynistic comments

“We shouldn’t have to drop to our knees at
any point.”

Juliet Spies-Gans, Editorial Fellow, HuffPost Sports

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US player Serena Williams returns the ball to Belarus’s Victoria Azarenka during their women’s quarter-finals match on day eight of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Let’s make one thing clear: Serena Williams — likely the greatest female tennis player ever, potentially the greatest female athlete ever and one of the most influential and groundbreaking sports figures of her generation — should not have to get down on her  knees, grovel or express her gratitude to any male  athlete for helping her on the road to success. On Sunday, just hours before Williams made her return to the prestigious Indian Wells finals, tournament director Raymond Moore made comments that were unambiguously and alarmingly sexist, suggesting to reporters that players of the WTA should worship at The Altar Of Roger Federer and the other big names of the men’s game who have shined their superstar light so brightly, so powerfully, that even women’s tennis has benefitted from their heroics.
No really, he said that. “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they have carried this sport,” Moore said. “They really have.”
Williams, who has learned a thing or two over the years about taking unwarranted, misogynistic nonsense from the press and the public, did not mince words in her response to these remarks, needing just a few sentences to cut the director and his analysis down at the knees:
Obviously, I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that … [If] I could tell you every day how many people say they don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister — I couldn’t even bring up that number. So I don’t think that is a very accurate statement. I think there are a lot of women out there who … are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men out there who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways.
And then came the kicker. Alluding to the 2015 U.S. Open, in which the women’s championship round sold out before that of the men’s, Williams went for the ace.
“I’m sorry, did Roger play in that final?” Williams asked, rhetorically. “Or Rafa, or any man, play in that final …? I think not.”
Williams went on to swat away any attempt to smooth over Moore’s statements, allowing him no escape from the discriminatory declaration he so nonchalantly made.
“Well, if you read the transcript, you can only interpret it one way,” she said. “Get on your knees, which is offensive enough, and thank a man, which is not — we, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn’t have to drop to our knees at any point.”
Moore released the obligatory boilerplate apology a few hours later, but his comments make clear the double standard still rampant in professional tennis today. Even as women and men now finally earn equal prize money from the major tournaments. And even as Serena Williams and the like continue to change the landscape of the sport, year after year.