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Women of color face a deeper gender pay gap

Despite significant advances for women workers in Ohio since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, a gender pay gap continues to persist. This gap has the strongest impact on women of color, reflecting legacies and realities of race and sex discrimination on the job and in society. Every year, advocates draw attention to the pay gap by marking Equal Pay Day, which denotes the extra time a woman has to work into the new year to symbolically achieve the same pay that an average man earned the previous year.

In 2018, April 10 was Equal Pay Day for the average American woman. For women of color, however, the wait for equal pay is far longer. African-American women see Equal Pay Day on August 7, Native American women on September 7 and Latina women on November 1. In practice, Black women make only $0.63 for every dollar earned by white men. Native American women earn $0.57 and Latin women $0.54; white women earn $0.79 for every male dollar.

Economists note that the gender pay gap persists for a number of reasons, including workplace discrimination. While women are achieving their college degrees faster than men, they continue to remain in low-wage jobs. In particular, women of color are disproportionately represented in the nation's minimum wage workforce, especially in positions like retail sales, personal care aids and home health workers. Women of color make up 17 percent of all workers in the United States, yet they comprise 33 percent of these positions.

Discrimination and violation of federal wage and hour laws are illegal. An employment attorney can help a worker who has been faced with unjust treatment pursue legal action.

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