The Convergence to Racial Equality in Women's Wages
Twenty years ago the average black woman employed full time was earning approximately half the wage rate of a similarly employed white woman. By 1975 almost complete racial parity in female wages had been achieved. Although this remarkable advance in the economic status of black women has accelerated in the last few years, it has received little serious analytical attention. In contrast, the significant but smaller income gains of black males during the 1960s generated considerable research attempting to disentangle possible sources of this improvement. Real wage changes of the magnitude observed for black females are so rare that it seems unlikely conventional explanations will suffice. In this article, I explore several potential reasons for the rise in the relative wage of black women.