Wage gap for women of color closes slowly


Credit: Jenny Chang / The Foothill Dragon Press

Branden Padilla

Discrimination between men and women in the workplace is a well-known subject and a sensitive topic to some. The most pressing matter in this topic is the fact that women of color are paid even less than their white female counterparts. An article on INDEPENDENT states that all women are essentially working for free from mid-November until the end of the year, because of this immense wage gap.  

An article on the American Association of University Women (AAUW), states that some black women have to work around eight extra months for free to earn the same amount as their male coworkers. In addition, black women were paid around 63 percent of what non-Hispanic white men were paid in 2015.   

The site later adds in that this may be a reality simply because black women are less likely to work in a higher paying occupation than white women. They add, Black women make up a scant 1 percent of the high-paying engineering workforce and 3 percent of computing. And these are the fields where the gender pay gap is the smallest.”

According to Pew Research, white and Asian women have seen some growing success in efforts to close the gender gap for their races, yet the wage gap of Hispanic and black women still looms large. “White women narrowed the wage gap in median hourly earnings by 22 cents from 1980 (when they earned, on average, 60 cents for every dollar earned by a white man) to 2015 (when they earned 82 cents). By comparison, black women only narrowed that gap by 9 cents, from earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a white man in 1980 to 65 cents today,” the site reports.

Denise Malan, a Deputy Court Clerk of the Superior Court of California, added in her insight on the topic.

When asked if she feels she’s ever felt a different treatment compared so her white coworkers she said, “In all the departments I have worked, I didn’t feel like there was a bias. In only one department only did I feel like there was a bias. I felt like I was being held to a higher standard than others. They were/are also women of color. However, they seemed to receive a pass on mistakes or helped a little extra.”

Malan has been working at the courts for ten years and has big aspirations for the future of her career. “I worked for 18 years at a private law firm and I was burned out. I set my eye on being a CPA III and no further. The people I have helped along have been promoted and moved up in the Courts. I’m not tooting my own horn. I was just blessed to be able to be there for them,” she said.

With the pay gap slowly closing for all women, the gap may still be open for women of color the longest, depending on the state you’re in. The Huffington Post predicts the wage gap will close for all women in California in 2024, 2049 in New York, 2080 in Ohio, and so on.

What do you think?