That’s how much African-American women typically lose over a lifetime of work, compared to white non-Hispanic men. That’s right: nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. For Latinas, it’s almost a million dollars: $964,440.
Over the course of a 40-year career, American women will typically be paid $464,320 less than American men. That’s more than $11,600 a year in lost pay because of the wage gap.
We aren’t talking about pocket change. An additional $11,600 or more each year would be life-changing, especially for women in low-wage work.
And closing the wage gap wouldn’t just help individual women. It would improve the lives of countless American families.
Closing the wage gap would reduce poverty rates, give struggling families the ability to make ends meet, and open new doors for women to pay for education or jumpstart a business.
But the wage gap hasn’t budged in a decade.
How can we close the wage gap?
We need policy change. We need better laws to protect workers who talk about their wages in an effort to learn whether they are being discriminated against and a better way for those who find out they are being paid less to fix the problem. We need to provide paid maternity leave and sick leave. We need to raise the minimum wage.
It’s been more than 50 years since the landmark law was passed that made it illegal to pay women less than men for the same work. Here’s one thing we’ve learned in that time: We can’t negotiate our way out of the wage gap. To close it — for all women — we need across-the-board change. Take action.
About the National Women’s Law Center
For 40 years, the National Women’s Law Center has worked to advance and protect women’s equality and opportunity. The Center focuses on major areas of importance to women and their families, including economic security, employment, health and reproductive rights, and education, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women. For more resources from the Center on equal pay and the wage gap, please visit www.nwlc.org/fairpay.