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Tuesday is Equal Pay Day. It doesn’t apply to most women of color.

Women of color face more than a gender wage gap; they face a racial one too.

Equal Pay Day 2018 is a reminder that many women of color make less than both white men and white women.
Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

April 10 marks Equal Pay Day, created to draw attention to the gender wage gap.

This particular date was not randomly selected — it’s supposed to symbolize how far women have to work into 2018 to catch up to the same amount men made in 2017.

But it fails to take into account one fundamental fact: Women of color are often paid far less.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, white women on average make 79 cents for every dollar made by a man, while black women make 63 cents, Native American women make 57 cents, and Latina women make 54 cents. Asian-American women have the highest pay on average, 87 cents to every dollar made by a man, but there is significant variation among different nationalities of Asian women, with some groups making far less than the average.

US Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) tweeted out a graphic to call attention to this important distinction.

So basically, Equal Pay Day doesn’t equally apply to everyone. Black women, for example, won’t reach the equal pay milestone until August 7 of this year. One month later, on September 7, Native American women will reach equal pay. On November 1, Latina women will hit the benchmark. (Asian-American women hit the equal pay mark on February 22, but again, that date overlooks significant disparities in pay among different groups of Asian women.)

Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, wrote in a recent op-ed in the Hill that “despite the calculations that determine an ‘average’ pay gap for women, many women of color experience wage gaps that are far greater — in some cases double — the average gap.”

So next time Equal Pay Day rolls around, let it be a reminder that disparities in pay occur not only along gender lines but along racial ones as well.

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