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Black Women in the Workplace

For the longest time, women were fighting for rights equal to those of men. Presently, women continue their equality fight as they work towards getting pay equal to that of men. There always seems to be something they are fighting for, and for good reason. Catalyst, a company that conducts research on women in the workplace, published the results of a survey they conducted in April of 2011. Their results were somewhat unsurprising and revealed that women earned less than men across all ethnic backgrounds. The gaps between White and Asian women and men were much larger than those between black and Latino women and men.

The survey also revealed that in 2010, the median weekly earnings of full-time working women was $669, compared to $824 for men. It may not seem like a large gap, but over a year’s time, the $155 weekly pay difference adds up to an $8,060 pay difference. That, over the course of a working-lifetime adds up to a huge earnings difference. These statistics are staggering, but they are even more-so when you compare black women to white men earnings. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, “in one year, the average black woman earns approximately $12,000 less than the average white man does. Over a 35-year career, this adds up to $420,000.” That pay difference is almost double that of white women. So, then it should come as no surprise when More magazine reported that black women in the workplace tend to be more ambitious than White women.

They revealed that 43 percent of the women they surveyed admitted that they see themselves as less ambitious than they were 10 years ago and only 15 percent see themselves as more ambitious. However, the survey also found that “black women were twice as likely as average to say they are more ambitious today.” Don’t take the survey results in the wrong way: American women want to work, they just don’t want to advance in their field. According to the results, three-fourths said that they would not apply for their boss’s job if they had the opportunity. Of those women, 38 percent of them said they didn’t want to because they did not want to deal with the politics, pressure and responsibility.

However, it only seems natural that black women are more ambitious than white women because statistically based on earnings they are not yet where white women are. They are still trying to gain the same pay as other women in their fields and “it makes sense that they’re working over time to wedge their foot through the door in the first place.” In order to blast through this door, black women most likely work to exceed performance expectations, build positive relationships with managers and bosses, communicate more effectively and try to use their cultural background to enhance job performance.

SOURCES: National Committee on Pay Equity, Catalyst and Madame Noire
IMAGE: Madame Noire

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter

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