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Gender pay gap is highest for black women in Louisiana

The gender pay gap has been closing in recent years, bringing the United States closer to men and women earning the same wages for the same work. But it remains a problem for women nationwide, and that is especially true for African-American women in Louisiana.

Black women in the state face the most challenging pay gap, making less than half on average than the highest-paid bracket of full-time employees. They also face other difficult working conditions, such as low-wage jobs that are physically taxing and impose restrictions on family life.

Louisiana holds the nation’s second-worst gender pay gap, with women earning 68 cents for every dollar made by the average white non-Hispanic male. When adjusted for race, African-American women earn only 48 cents for every dollar, or an average of $26,488 per year among the 210,000 black female state residents working full-time jobs.

“We have alarmingly high statistics in Louisiana for black women stuck in low wage jobs and in poverty, lacking workplace benefits like paid sick and maternity leave, and struggling to take care of the children and loved ones who depend on them,” the Independent Women’s Organization vice president said in a statement.

She added this poverty is linked to chronic health problems and difficulties raising children. Long hours and poor conditions in the workplace, including harassment and discrimination, are other conditions that can disproportionately affect women.

Louisianans have rights that protect them from unfair working conditions. Work remains in the drive to legislate change in the state, and legal advocates are prepared to help those facing these challenges in the workplace.

Source: The Times-Picayune, “Black women in Louisiana face the worst pay gap nationwide,” Jennifer Larino, accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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