Women In Boston Still Make Far Less Than Men. For Women Of Color, It's Even Worse

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The wage gap continues to be much worse for black and Latina women in Greater Boston, according to a new analysis.

Latina women in Greater Boston earned just 45 cents for every dollar white men earn, while black women earned just 49 cents, according to new data unveiled Thursday by the Boston Women's Workforce Council.

Other estimates have consistently shown the wage gap is worse for these groups. The new analysis also found that Asian women earned 67 cents for every dollar white men earn, while white women earned 70 cents for every dollar white men earn.

On average, women in Greater Boston (defined in the report as ZIP codes within I-495) make 70 cents for every dollar men make, according to the analysis. This is a wider gap than the city of Boston's previous analysis in 2017 -- which found women earned on average 76 cents for every dollar men earn. The gap for women of color is also wider compared to that analysis.


But the city cautioned against comparing the two reports because the sample sizes are different and may represent different companies submitting data for the voluntary survey.

"What we do is just take a snapshot to see where we are at that point in time with the contributors that we had," said Tania Del Rio, the executive director of the mayor's office of women's advancement. "We're looking to grow the size of the data set because the more employers we have involved in this effort, the better off women are going to be."

The new findings are based on 2019 wage data for 136,437 employees — 13% of the Greater Boston workforce. The data was provided anonymously by 123 companies that are part of the city's 100% Talent Compact initiative to tackle pay equity.

The wage gap also varied by job type. The largest gap was among service workers, where women earned just 45 cents compared to a man's dollar, according to the analysis. Meanwhile, the smallest wage gap — where women earned 93 cents to a man's dollar — was in a job category that includes parking attendants, bus drivers and machine operators.

Notably, female executives had the second largest wage gap — earning 70 cents compared to a man's dollar — according to the city. One area where women are outearning men is among administrative workers. Women in those jobs earn 2 cents more on the dollar than men, the analysis found.

Del Rio acknowledges that progress towards closing the wage gap is "too slow."

"Our goal is to have that number reach zero. And if we don't reach zero, we won't be satisfied," she said.

Part of the city's efforts to close the wage gap include offering free salary negotiation workshops and supporting certain legislation, such as a bill that would require companies to report the gender and race of employees in management positions.

Pay equity has been taken up beyond Greater Boston too. The state also offers salary negotiation workshops in several locations, and the Massachusetts pay equity law has been in place for over a year.

It's worth noting that another study found women in Massachusetts earn 83 cents for every dollar men earn. And nationally, women earn an estimated 82 cents for every dollar men earn. Those analyses rely on salary information reported by employees. By contrast, the city of Boston's analysis uses information reported directly by employers "down to the cent," according to Del Rio.

The new data released by the city reflect highlights from a report due out in January. The next analysis will be conducted in 2021, according to the city.

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of the graphic embedded in this story gave incorrect figures for Asian and white women. The graphic has been updated. We regret the error.

This article was originally published on December 05, 2019.


Zeninjor Enwemeka Twitter Reporter
Zeninjor Enwemeka is a reporter who covers business, tech and culture as part of WBUR's Bostonomix team, which focuses on the innovation economy.