The convergence to racial equality in women's wages

by James P. Smith

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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. This paper examines several possible causes of this remarkable advance in the economic status of black women using the 1960 and 1970 U.S. Census. The increased similarity in education distributions between races, the rapid rise in black wages in the South, affirmative action pressures, and the withdrawal of black women from domestic services were important reasons for the wage advances of black women.

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