Despite major strides — a handful of which were pointed out by President Obama during a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation banquet speech focused on pay equality — Black women remain at the bottom of the wage gap, a new Census Bureau report notes.
While Black women remain the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the nation, they have been hit with a 3.6 percent decline in earnings since 2009. That number for White women declined just 0.2 percent in six years, Black Enterprise points out.
Valerie Rawlston Wilson, the director of the Economic Police Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy, told Black Enterprise that the decline is a “troubling trend.”
“A lot of this has to do with how different workers responded to the recession. While other groups may have stayed out of work after a job loss, African-American women had to maintain stronger attachment to the labor market because of their different levels of wealth and savings. There has been more job growth in lower paying occupations, and these are the jobs African-American women have been forced to take,” she said.
President Obama on Saturday vowed to close the wage gap for women, noting that while it is “nice” to put a woman on the front of the $10 bill, the government needs to make sure Black women are also getting ahold of those dollars.
“We are going to have to close those economic gaps,” Obama said. “We have to do more than just say we care. Say we will put our women on a $10 bill. Although, that’s a good idea. We have to make sure they’re getting some $10 bills. That they’re getting paid properly. We have to let our actions do the talking.”
The speech, which largely focused on tackling issues that disproportionately affect Black women (including health, incarceration, poverty, and the wage gap), can be viewed here.
For a list of all the ways the president urged Congress to focus on Black women, check out these highlights from his speech.
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