(NEW YORK) — Women of color are disproportionately represented in the low-wage workforce, a new study released Tuesday found.
Half of working women of color earn less than $15 an hour, according to Oxfam, the anti-poverty charity organization responsible for the research.
“Women and people of color do much more than their fair share of low-wage jobs, and as wages lose value, it’s becoming a civil rights crisis in this country,” Oxfam stated in the study release.
In 25 states, at least 60% of working women of color earn under $15.
Women typically receive 83 cents on the dollar that every white, non-Hispanic man in the same position makes, Oxfam reported.
For women of color, that disparity rises drastically — Black women are paid 64 cents; American Indian women are paid 60 cents; and Latina or Hispanic women make 57 cents, compared to a dollar that a white man makes.
Oxfam found that nearly a third of all U.S. workers earn under $15 an hour — 25% of all men and 40% of all women. That’s roughly 52 million people.
When broken down by race, 26% of white workers earn less than $15, while 46% of Hispanic and Latino workers and 47% of Black workers do.
With inflation levels at the highest they’ve been in decades, families are left struggling, researchers say.
“It’s been 13 years since Congress raised the wage floor in this country, and in that time all costs of living have steadily climbed,” Kaitlyn Henderson, senior research advisor at Oxfam America, said in a press release.
She added, “It’s shameful that at a time when many U.S. companies are boasting record profits, some of the hardest working people in this country — especially people who keep our economy and society functioning — are struggling to get by and falling behind.”
The report also highlights that some workers are paid even lower than $7.25 thanks to federal laws that allow tipped workers, student workers, farmworkers, domestic workers and workers with disabilities to be paid less.
“It’s long past time to adjust our priorities to reflect the value and decency inherent in all work by paying workers a higher wage, adjusting the compensation of CEOs and shareholders, and moving to an economic model that prioritizes people over profits,” said Gina Cummings, vice president of advocacy, alliances and policy for Oxfam America.
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