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Black women aren’t paid fairly

Get the facts about the pay gap for Black women.

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The pay gap

Black women are paid less than white men & white women

On average, Black women in the U.S. are paid 36% less than white men and 12% less than white women.1

The pay gap by gender and race

How it works

The pay gap starts early

From age 16, Black girls are paid less than boys the same age—and the gap only grows from there.2

The pay gap by age

The pay gap widens for educated Black women

Black women enroll in college at higher rates than men overall and—most notably—at higher rates than white men.3 But the gap is largest for Black women who have bachelor’s degrees—they earn 36% less than white men with bachelor’s degrees on average.

The pay gap by education level4

Even in the same job, Black women get paid less

Black women are ambitious—they’re more likely than white women to say they want to become top executives.5 But even in the same job, Black women are paid less than white men.

The pay gap by occupation6

Black women are asking for more

Black women ask for promotions and raises at about the same rates as white women and men—yet the "broken rung" still holds them back at the first critical step up to manager. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 58 Black women are promoted.7

Share of employees negotiating for promotions and raises8

Why it matters

The average Black women loses out on almost a million dollars

The pay gap is not about a single paycheck. Over the course of the average Black woman’s career, the lost income adds up to almost a million dollars compared to white men.9

Average lost income over a lifetime due to the pay gap10

Did you know?

The pay gap widens the wealth gap: how much Black women are worth or own. Shockingly, single Black women own less than 8 cents on the dollar compared to white men.11

Families are on the front line

Most Black mothers are breadwinners for their families—meaning their household depends on their paycheck.12 When Black moms are paid less, they have less money for basic family necessities like rent, groceries, and school supplies. Over time, this impacts families’ ability to invest in savings, higher education, or property.

Share of mothers who are breadwinners13

Did you know?

The pay gap is even worse for Black mothers, who are paid 48% less than white fathers.14

The pay gap hits harder in an economic crisis

The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated deep, long-standing biases against Black women that are built into our systems. According to research from LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey, in 2020 Black women were almost twice as likely as white men to say that they’ve been laid off, furloughed, or had their hours and/or pay reduced because of COVID-19.15

Black women deserve fair pay.
It’s time to close the gap.


  1. Jessica Mason, National Partnership for Women and Families, personal communication, September 2022. The data for women of different races and ethnicities is calculated including women who worked part time or part of the year. The number for all women is based only on women who worked all year long, all year round. When you include workers who worked part-time or part of the year, you get numbers that are more inclusive and accurate because they captures 33 million additional working women, including many lower-income workers who reduced their hours or worked part of 2020 due to the pandemic.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, “Current Population Survey: Wage and Salary Workers—People 25 years and older by Median Usual Weekly Earnings, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex,” accessed January 30, 2022,
  3. National Center for Education Statistics, “Table 302.60: Percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college, by level of institution and sex and race/ethnicity of the student: 1970 through 2019,” Digest of Education Statistics (2020),
  4. U.S. Census Bureau, “Current Population Survey: Wage and Salary Workers—People 25 years and older by Median Usual Weekly Earnings, Education Level, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex,” accessed February 24, 2021,
  5. LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace 2022 (October 2022), accessed February 24, 2021,
  6. The U.S. Census Bureau, “Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic (ASEC) Supplement: Table PINC-06: Wage and Salary Workers—People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Wage and Salary Income, Work Experience, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex,” retrieved February 10, 2022,
  7. LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace 2020,
  8. LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace 2019 (October 2019), unpublished data.
  9. National Women’s Law Center, “The Lifetime Wage Gap, State by State”, (March 2021),
  10. Ibid.
  11. Daan Struyven, Gizelle George-Joseph, and Daniel Milo, “Black Womenomics: Investing in the Underinvested,” Goldman Sachs, The Bigger Picture (March 9, 2021), accessed February 10, 2022,
  12. Julie Anderson, “Breadwinner Mothers by Race/Ethnicity and State,” IWPR #Q079 (April 2020), accessed Feb 16, 2022, Note: Breadwinner mothers are defined as single mothers who head a household or partnered mothers who generate at least 40 percent of a household’s joint income.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Jasmine Tucker, “The Wage Gap Shortchanges Mothers,” National Women’s Law Center (August 2022),
  15. LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey, “The coronavirus is a financial crisis for women” (April 2020),