Black Women in the Labor Force

Source: Joan Farrelly-Harrigan, U.S. Department of Labor Blog, February 26, 2016

As Black History Month comes to a close and Women’s History Month begins, it’s a good time to take a look at the progress we’ve made toward equality in the workplace for black women and the challenges they still face.

We’ve undoubtedly made substantial progress over the past few decades. Black women earn more than ever and continue to be more likely than other women to participate in the labor force. In 2015, six in 10 black women were employed or actively looking for work.

However, we still face significant challenges, including a stark wage gap. The latest data on annual earnings shows that black women earn nearly 20 percent less than white, non-Hispanic women and 40 percent less than white, non-Hispanic men. This wage disparity has a detrimental effect on black women and the families they support. Black women are raising families, often alone, or at least as a primary breadwinner. In fact, four in 10 black families with children were headed by a single working mother in 2014….

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