A new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research says that despite government measures like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the gender wage gap actually grew from 2014 and 2015—particularly for Black women.
The researchers examined U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics median weekly pay data for full-time workers and found that wages generally increased for American men and women. While women earned $726 a week (a $6 increase from 2014), men saw the largest hike, going from $872 to $895. Of all the groups studied, only Black men saw their weekly wage decrease, from $681 to $680.
Overall, women earned just 81.1 cents to men’s dollar in 2015, versus 82.5 cents the previous year. While the gap has generally narrowed since 1980, the authors point out that much of the progress happened in the 1980s and ’90s, and say that if the earnings ratio continues to move at this pace it will take until 2059 to close the gap.
And when the numbers are broken down by race and ethnicity, the disparity increases for some groups. Black women earned just 66.8 percent of what White men earned in 2015. That represents a drop from 2014’s figure, which was 68.1 percent. Hispanic women earn the least in comparison to White men, at just 61.5 cents on the dollar, which is a modest increase from 61.1 cent in 2014.
The report attributes women’s depressed earnings to several factors, including discrimination in hiring, recruitment and compensation; lower earnings for jobs typically held by women; and a lack of subsidized childcare and paid family leave.