Black Women and the “Double Gap” in Wages in the American Labor Market
Wednesday, April 28 2:00-3:00 EST
Dr. Michelle Holder
Associate Professor of Economics*
John Jay College, CUNY
(*effective August 2021)
There are over 10 million black women in the American labor force. One thing many of them share in common, besides their gender and race, is that their labor is undervalued. Recent estimates suggest the “gender wage gap” in the U.S. is currently about 20 cents—for every dollar men earn working full-time, women earn about 80 cents. However, where black women are concerned, the gap swells to about 39 cents, leaving them earning 61 cents for every dollar men earn. How does this happen? Partly because employers know which workers are more highly valued, as reflected in their compensation, but most black working women don’t know if, or when, they are being undervalued and underpaid.
Using three different methodologies in research on what Holder calls the “double gap in wages” black women face in the American labor market, she quantifies the annual size of “involuntarily forfeited” earnings borne by black women who work in the private, for-profit sector. In this research Holder also discusses individual and collective as well as public and private sector approaches that can narrow the “double gap.”
Celebration of Women’s History Month
Dr. Margaret Simms will be in conversation with Dr. Willene Johnson when she talks on her “Reflections on the journey with a view towards the future” that will be held on Friday, March 5, 2021 at 12:00 pm
About Margaret C. Simms
Margaret C. Simms is a Nonresident Fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. Until March 2017, she directed the Low Income Working Families project at Urban. Prior to joining the Urban Institute in July 2007, she was Vice President for Governance and Economic Analysis at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. She began working at the Joint Center in 1986 as Deputy Director of Research and held positions of increasing responsibility during her 20 year tenure. From May 1 through December 31, 2006, she served as Interim President. Prior to joining the staff of the Joint Center, she was a program director at the Urban Institute. She began her career in academia, with appointments at the University of California at Santa Cruz and at Atlanta University. A nationally recognized expert on the economic well-being of African Americans, her current work focuses on low-income families, with an emphasis on self-sufficiency and asset building.
She served as editor of the Review of Black Political Economy from 1983 to 1988 and co-editor from 2017 to February 2021. She has held officer or committee positions with the American Economic Association, the National Economic Association, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), and the National Academy of Social Insurance. In 2005, she was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2008 the National Economic Association presented her with the Samuel Z. Westerfield Award. In 2019, she was elected to membership in the National Academy of Public Administration. Carleton College (Minnesota) awarded her an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2010.
Dr. Simms holds a BA in Economics from Carleton College (Minnesota) and a PhD in economics from Stanford University.
Additional information on recent publications can be found at https://www.urban.org/author/margaret-simms
Recovering and Reclaiming the Economic Life of Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander
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