Time’s Up, Pay Up

Gender and Racial Inequity During Crisis: The Pay Gap


The pay gap is one of the most persistent — yet measurable and, therefore, solvable — indicators of systemic sexism and racism in the United States. While on average, women in the United States are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men, Latinx women earn 54 cents, Native American women earn 57 cents, Black women earn 62 cents, and AAPI women earn 90 cents on the dollar of a white man.

The consequences of the pay gap are life-long: women overall lose nearly half a million dollars over the course of their career due to the pay gap, with women of color losing close to one million dollars over the course of their careers.

Prior research has shown that there are three main factors that drive the unjust pay gap between men and women in the United States:

  1. Women face pervasive gender and racial discrimination;
  2. Women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and underrepresented in higher-wage ones; and
  3. Women bear the brunt of home and caregiving responsibilities.

To better understand people’s perceptions about the pay gap, study how the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis may affect the drivers of the pay gap, and learn what women feel they need to achieve greater financial security, TIME’S UP Foundation commissioned PerryUndem to field a national survey of 2,528 diverse adults, ages 18 to 64, between June 2-10, 2020. This survey was generously supported by LUNA bar, a partner in TIME’S UP’s campaign to fight the pay gap.

Across the board, men and women agree the gender pay gap must be closed — especially now

Pay equity for women is just as or more important right now for 83 percent of all survey respondents, including:

  • Women overall: 86 percent
  • Women of color: 81 percent
  • Men of color: 81 percent
  • Men overall: 79 percent

Yet women continue to be underpaid and undervalued

Discrimination persists

Nearly six in 10 women say they’ve faced gender or racial discrimination or obstacles to higher paying jobs.

Fifty-eight percent of women have:

  • Stayed in a job or turned down a better job, due to: caregiving responsibilities; to make it easier for their spouse; because of sexual harassment or because the new environment could be too sexist or racist; and/or
  • Been told they didn’t work as hard because: of their gender, race or ethnicity; or because of children or caregiving responsibilities.

Meanwhile, thirty-four percent of men who help make hiring decisions believe “men should have more of a right to a job than women” when jobs are scarce.

Unpaid labor remains unfair

Only 16 percent of partnered women say their spouse or partner is doing “all or almost all” of household work. By comparison, more than 40 percent of women report doing “all or almost all” of household work.

Half of women say they are in charge of what needs to get done at home. Just one in five men say the same.

Note: Same-gender relationships have a more equitable distribution of household work than opposite-gender relationships.

Recession falls hardest on women

Women, and especially Latinx women, are disproportionately impacted by the economic crisis.

Percent of respondents who lost their job, lost their hours, faced a pay cut, or were laid off or furloughed:

The consequences are staggering

Nearly half of women (48 percent) surveyed do not have a stable, good-paying job that pays the bills, allows for savings, and allows them to be healthy.

Roughly half of Latinx (51 percent) and Black (48 percent) women do not have enough money right now to pay for basic needs like food and housing.

Half of women of color (52 percent) have less than $200 in savings, compared to 37 percent of white women and 27 percent of white men.

The solutions are clear — but require business leaders and policymakers to act

Women surveyed understand the broader systemic drivers of pay inequity — such as racism and sexism — better than men.

Women surveyed understand the broader systemic drivers of pay inequity — such as racism and sexism — better than men.

These systemic problems demand systemic solutions

Women in the workforce identified several benefits they need for economic security.

Women in the workforce identified several benefits they need for economic security.