A new study by the Retail Action Project and the City University of New York released data that shows a dramatic gender gap in wages in the retail industry — one in which black and Latina women are hit the hardest.
The report is based on data collected by 435 retail workers at national companies. According to information pulled from those surveys, women earn an average of $9.00 per hour, compared to $10.13 per hour earned by men. Those numbers are especially pronounced for women of color –53 percent of black women and 77 percent of Latina women earn less than $10 per hour.
While many retailers benefited from Black Friday weekend sales, the workers who were hired to help meet that demand are often stuck in temporary, low-wage jobs, according to the study.
"We’re happy that more people have the opportunity to go back to work, but the majority of jobs created are low-wage, part time, and seasonal. The retail industry is thriving and can do better," said Retail Action Project’s Carrie Gleason.
As big retailers like Old Navy and Toys R Us gear up for around-the-clock holiday sales, it’s like women who’ll be working longer hours for very little pay.
Talisa Erazo, a member of the Retail Action Project put it this way in a press release: "After working at the same store for over three years, I earn only $7.90 per hour. On these earnings I support my mom who lives on disability, contribute money for rent, food, transportation, and cover my costs for college. With the holidays, it gets even tougher."
The National Organization for Women (NOW) has called for more industry accountability on the issue, and the Retail Action Project has started a Change.org petition that calls for equal pay for equal work.
See more about the study’s findings at the Retail Action Project.