The Gender and Racial Gap
Black and Hispanic women had higher and more persistently elevated unemployment rates in 2020 compared to white women.
It’s well-documented that gender and racial biases create barriers to quality jobs. “Women workers, particularly women of color, experience multiple types of inequality in the labor force, including gender and racial wage gaps, occupational segregation, and a disproportionate burden of costs associated with caregiving,” notes the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor.
The DOL notes that the economic crisis spurred by COVID-19 greatly impacted women, especially women of color.
“Women have persistently lower wages and fewer workplace benefits than men, disparities that are even more significant for Black, Hispanic, and some subsets of Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women,” according to an agency report.
More broadly, a quarter of Black and Hispanic workers report discrimination in the workplace. This according to a study from the Gallup Center on Black Voices. The research also finds that three out of four Black workers say the discrimination they faced was based on race.
In addition, Glassdoor’s Diversity and Inclusion Workplace Survey 2020 notes, “Nearly half of Black (47%) and Hispanic (49%) job seekers and employees have quit a job after witnessing or experiencing discrimination at work, significantly higher than white (38%) job seekers and employees.”
Results of an experiment out of Texas A&M University add age bias to the mix when approximately 150 business and MBA students were each asked to evaluate about 40 resumes for consideration of an entry-level administrative assistant position. The resumes were equal except they signaled race by name and age by high school graduation date.
The abstract reads, “We show race discrimination against prime-age Black job applicants that diminishes into middle age before re-emerging for older applicants.”
Additional research out of Texas A&M University – The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA )at the Intersection of Age and Race – concludes, “Labor market discrimination negatively affects the employment outcomes of older Black Americans in comparison to their white counterparts.”
It continues, “The federal government has recognized the need to protect against age discrimination in the labor market, as evidenced by the ADEA and its subsequent expansions. However, the ADEA is not equipped to address the challenges for older minority workers.”
Add ageism to the mix and research shows hiring is particularly tough for older women.
A 2015 study – updated in 2017 – was conducted by three economists. Fictional resumes were sent out for 13,000 job postings in a dozen cities.
The 40,000 job applications called for fairly low-skilled workers of all ages. The callbacks for jobs in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston – among other cities – were higher for younger applicants regardless of the jobs.
The researchers state in a recent publication of the National Bureau of Economic Research, “[Findings] are consistent with many other studies that find evidence of age discrimination in hiring, especially for women.”
Gender bias has long been evident in the difference in wages.
In 2023, women are earning $0.83 for every dollar made by men. This is the finding when data are uncontrolled – meaning the overall difference in wages of men and women regardless of jobs and industries.
Controlled data measure the pay difference between men and women who have the same job with the same qualifications and experience. In this scenario, women are earning $0.99 for every dollar a man makes.
While this difference is a penny, earnings can compound over the run of a person’s working life.
Findings from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research indicates that women earn less than men in almost all of the top 20 most common occupations for women, including elementary and middle school teachers, registered nurses, and customer service representatives.
The research shows that women earn less in all of the top 20 occupations for men. Those include truck drivers, software developers, and retail salespeople.