Foxconn Update, Why Few Women Are CEOs, Russian Sanctions, Black Women’s Pay Equality Day

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Among the nation’s biggest companies, there are few female CEOs to be found. Our guest talks about the barriers women can face as they climb the corporate ladder. A WPR reporter shares the latest news on the Foxconn manufacturing plant coming to Wisconsin and the incentive package lawmakers are diving into. We look into the sanctions on Russia that President Trump recently approved, but criticized Congress for. We also hear about African-American women advocating for equal pay in the workplace.

Featured in this Show

  • Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Draws Attention To Pay Gap

    Even though we’re well into the second half of 2017, one demographic group is just catching up to what another achieved in 2016.

    July 31st was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which the Economic Policy Institute describes as “the day that marks how long into 2017 an African-American woman would have to work in order to be paid the same wages as her white male counterpart was paid last year.”

    That means it took 19 months for black women to make what white men would have made in just the 12 months that made up 2016.

    “We’ve had Valentine’s Day, we’ve had Easter, we’ve had Mothers Day, we’ve had July 4th, and all of this time into the year, black women still are just now catching up with what white men earned last year,” said Janelle Jones, economic analyst for the Economic Policy Institute.

    That’s because black women, on average, make 67 cents on the dollar compared to white men, she said.

    “This adds up over a day, over a week, over a lifetime of working, that black women are being underpaid,” she said.

    That pay gap stems from what Jones calls double discrimination.

    “The discrimination faced by black women is special in that it’s gender and race based,” she said. “We know that there’s a gender wage gap between white men and white women, and we know that there’s also a racial wage gap between all white workers and all black workers, and the thing that puts black women in this intersection is seen in their low wages.”

    According to the Pew Research Center, blacks in 2015 earned just 75 percent as much as whites in hourly earnings and women earned 83 percent as much as men.

    While some critics may say that the gap stems from black women choosing careers that pay less, Jones said the data her organization has gathered doesn’t make that claim up.

    “In almost every occupation, black women earn less than white men,” she said. “We look at a bunch of different occupations, some that are traditionally low paid such as retail salespersons or customer service workers, but we also look at accountants and lawyers and physicians and we see that there’s still a pay gap.”

    She also said it’s not a matter of putting in more hours, or working harder, which she points out are sometimes used as an argument against the existence of this gap.

    “Since 1979, black women have actually increased their hours of work more than white men and more than white women, even,” she said. “And we’re seeing that this is particularly strong among low wage workers.”

    In terms of closing the gap, Jones said she thinks there’s action that could be taken on the federal level, starting with raising the federal minimum wage.

    “When you talk about black women workers, they’re so overrepresented among low-wage workers, that if you do something to kind of lift the wages of people at the bottom, you’re going to have an impact on black women’s wages,” she said.

    She also pointed out that getting workers into unions could also help level the playing field.

    “When you give workers the option to collectively bargain, you take away a lot of the ability of employers to discriminate based on race and gender,” she said. “There’s actually evidence and data supports that this, that shows that black workers, black men and black women in unions, make more than their counterparts who are not in unions.”

    While Jones said she isn’t optimistic for action on the federal level any time soon, states and local governments could take the lead, and in some cases, are already doing so.

    “We are seeing states increasing their minimum wage, passing fair scheduling laws, passing paid sick days,” she said. “There could be some real movement on this.”

    Black Women’s Equal Pay Day also got an extra boost this year. Tennis player Serena Williams wrote a personal essay about the pay gap from black women, writing, “men, women, of all colors, races and creeds to realize this is an injustice. And an injustice to one is an injustice to all.”

  • One Week After Foxconn Announcement, GOP Lawmakers Split On How To Proceed

    One week after Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn announced plans to build a major plant in Wisconsin, GOP legislators appear to be split over an economic incentives package, amid the backdrop of a state budget that has yet to be passed. WPR’s state capitol reporter brings us up to speed on what’s happening.

  • What's Stopping Women From Becoming CEO's?

    The number of women who head Fortune 500 companies is hovering around six percent, with forward momentum coming slowly. Our guest talks with women who almost made it, and asks them why more women aren’t CEO’s.

  • President Trump Signs Russia Sanctions Bill

    President Trump signed onto a bill yesterday that levied new sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential election, but he did it grudgingly. A policy expert tells us what the sanctions will mean for U.S.-Russia relations.

  • July 31st Is Black Women's Equal Pay Day

    July 31 was the day that marked how long into 2017 an African-American woman would have to work to make the same wages as her white male counterpart was paid in 2016. We talk to an expert from the Economic Policy Institute about the wage gap between African-American women and white men in the United States and what myths persist about this pay gap.

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Veronica Rueckert Producer
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Janelle Jones Guest
  • Laurel White Guest
  • Susan Chira Guest
  • Jordan Tama Guest