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DOL: Black Women in the Labor Force

March is Women's History Month. The Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor presents a blog post, Black Women in the Labor Force, authored by Joan Farrelly Harringan, deputy director of  the Women's Bureau.

In  this blog post, the author takes a look at the progress that the Department of Labor made toward equality in the workplace for black women and the challenges they still face.

According  to the latest data, substantial progress has been made that there were about 10.2 million black women in the civilian labor force in 2015, representing 1 in 7 women in the labor force.  Of those, 9.3 million were employed.  Black women continue to be more likely than other women to participate in the labor force.


However, black women still face significant challenges.  On average, black women tend to have less favorable outcomes than their white, non-Hispanic  counterparts.  They still face a stark wage gap and are less likely to work in higher-paid occupations.  The latest data on annual earnings show that black women earn nearly 20 percent less than white, non-Hispanic women and 40 percent less than white, non-Hispanic men.

According to the Women's Bureau, raising the minimum wage, closing the wage gap, ensuring adequate working conditions and expanding opportunities for higher wage occupations would greatly impact the lives of black women and their families. Read more on the DOL blog.


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