The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII reads as follows:
"Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin."
As you are already aware, the Civil Rights act just turned 50 years old this month. The lifestyles and opportunities afforded to black and minority men and women are believed to be far better than they were, right?
Of course, things were very different for you if you were a woman in 1964. In most places throughout the country, almost no opportunities were afforded to you if you were a woman of color in that same time.
Better is a relative term.
The very meaning of enabling Civil Rights is for equality to be afforded to all. Apparently, the way of life here in the United States says that only on paper and in legal binding we can offer the promise of equality -- when in real life, it's actually vice versa.
Here we are 50 years later, and if you're a woman of color, then you're still facing inequality in the workplace. According to a recent study, black women are making far less than their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts in the same jobs and positions.
The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) released a fact sheet that reveals the details of the wage gap for black women.
Listed here are the highlights from this fact sheet:
• Black women working as physicians and surgeons - a traditionally male, high-wage occupation - make just over 50 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
• Black women working as customer service representatives -- a mid-wage, female-dominated occupation -- make 79 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
• Black women working as personal care aides - a largely female, low-wage occupation - make 85 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
American women overall who work full time, year round are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.
However, black women who work full time, year round are paid only 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
This gap amounts to a staggering loss of $18,650 a year -- this means that black women have to work 19 months just to get into the salary neighborhood of what the white, non-Hispanic men had made in the previous work year alone.
Yes, this is actually still happening. Interestingly enough, this fact sheet comes on the heels of a report that was released earlier in the year that states that black women are the most educated group in the United States.
It's a fascinating observation; it would appear that as a result of the wage gap, the nation's most educated group will ironically have the hardest time repaying the loathed debt of student loans.
However, that's another story folks.
Kate Gallagher-Robbins, a Senior Policy Analyst at the NWLC, was kind enough to answer some additional questions regarding the fact sheet.
These statistics are infuriating, from what sources do you draw your data?
We collect our data from the current publication the Census population and from the American Community Survey. We look at full time, year round employees.
What are the educational backgrounds of the black women in these statistics?
There are a very wide variety of educational backgrounds in these statistics. In the case of African American women with a Bachelor's degree, they were still making only two thirds of what their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts were making in the same fields.
Is there a particular occupation where we are seeing this occur more frequently?
We're seeing that African American women are overrepresented in low wage jobs overall - this means there is a disproportionate concentration on African American women being more likely to work a low wage job, particularly without a degree.
Can this be part of the effect on how many black single moms are forced to use government assistance?
Without a college degree, African American women earn very low wages. Even with a college degree, many African American women still earn substantially less and unfortunately are often not provided with the same resources that others have.
What are the top areas in the country where this is a concern?
The wage gap is quite a bit larger in Louisiana and Wyoming. African American women there make less than half of what the white, non-Hispanic men make. The fourth largest wage gap is in Washington, D.C. and that's at 44 cents on the dollar.
For more about these facts, please visit the NWLC website.