Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, August 13th, which symbolizes the large gap between the median wages for Black women and non-Hispanic white men.

The median hourly wage for non-Hispanic white men in 2019 was $23.93, while the median hourly wage for Black women was $15.79. As a result, a hypothetical Black woman would have to work all of 2019 and until August 13, 2020, to earn what her non-Hispanic white counterpart would earn in 2019 alone.

In other words, the median Black woman earns 66 cents for every dollar made by a non-Hispanic, white man. For every dollar earned by a non-Hispanic white man, white women make 80 cents, Latinx women make 62 cents, Asian American women make 92 cents.

“On Tuesday, my congressional colleague Senator Kamala Harris became the first Black woman vice presidential nominee for a major party ticket. While we should all celebrate this history-making moment, we cannot ignore the immense inequities that Black women still face.

“The gender wage gap not only hurts Black women, it also hurts their families since many, like a lot of women, are sole or co-breadwinners.

“This is particularly problematic during the current economic recession since Black women are more likely to be on the frontlines doing work in health care and other essential industries that increase their risk of contracting the coronavirus. Not only should they be paid the same as their white male counterparts for this work, they should also receive additional pay for risking their lives, not treated as if they are disposable. 

“Despite being on the frontlines, Black women are also more likely to lose their jobs during the current economic recession. Currently, the unemployment rate for Black women is 13.5 percent—3.3 percentage points higher than the unemployment rate nationally and 3.9 percentage points higher than the unemployment rate for white women.

“Women and men in the same job deserve the same pay. Anything less than that is unjust and un-American. That is why I am a proud co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act.”

Congressman Beyer is a co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help eliminate the gender pay gap by holding employers accountable for discrimination, ending the practice of pay secrecy, easing workers’ ability to challenge pay discrimination, strengthening the available remedies for wronged employees, and prohibiting employers from asking about prospective employees’ salary history.

About Congressman Beyer

Congressman Don Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Previously, Beyer served as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and Ambassador to Switzerland, and built a successful family business over the course of four decades.

About the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee

The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee is Congress’s bicameral economic think tank. It was created when Congress passed the Employment Act of 1946. Under this Act, Congress established two advisory panels: the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) and the JEC. Their primary tasks are to review economic conditions and to recommend improvements in economic policy. Chairmanship of the JEC alternates between the Senate and House every Congress. Currently, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is the Chair and Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) is Vice Chair.