Income of black women has increased over the past 20 years, but they continue to suffer from prejudice and inequality


Mulheres negras evoluem na renda, mas ainda sofrem com preconceito

Note from BW of Brazil: As the saying goes, the more things change the more they stay the same. It is the perfect phrase for summarizing the situation of millions of black women throughout Brazil. On the one hand, from much of the material presented on this blog over the past five years, one must conclude that black Brazilian women have made great strides in improving their overall social condition in the country. Organizing, blogs, vlogs, marches and seminars, all by or for black women, have brought an unprecedented activism and voice without parallel in Brazilian history. Never have we seen such collective actions on the part of black women and determination to show the world that they are as beautiful and important and can be just as successful as any other group given the opportunity. On the other hand, even with all of this noteworthy progress, black woman as a whole remain vastly under-represented in numerous areas of Brazilian society and their income continues to relegate them to the bottom of the social period in comparison to white men and women and black men. Even though this may sound like bad news, the other side is that, from this position, only place they can go is up!

Income of black women increases but they still suffer from prejudice

Black women grow in income but they still suffer from prejudice

Research shows that black women’s salary has jumped in 20 years but is still far from equaling that of white men and women

By Eduardo Bittencourt and Priscila Natividade

Black women are still the ones who earn the least

In 20 years, black women’s income grew by 80%. On the other hand, inequalities in gender and race continue. This is because mulheres negras (black women) still receive below what homens e mulheres brancas (white men and women) earn. These are some of the data highlighted in the study Retrato das Desigualdades de Gênero e Raça (Portrait of Gender and Race Inequalities) based on historical series from 1995 to 2015 of the Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (Pnad or National Household Sample Survey) of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). The analysis also pointed out that Brazilian households are increasingly headed by women and that they are working much more than men.

Comparisons with white men on average monthly salary from 1995 to 2015

If in 1995, the income of a black woman was only R$570.3 per month, over time this figure reached R$ 1,027.5. Even so, there is a much greater difference in comparison to the salary of a white man, for example. Despite having the lowest evolution in a 20-year period, with an increase of 11%, white men still earn more than double that of a black woman. Based on the survey, the incomes of the white men in 2015 reached the amount of R$2,509,.7 – that is – 144.25% more than black women.

“The northeastern black woman is more disadvantaged than the others. The country is all structured by inequalities one over the other. There is the question of historical inheritance, exploitation of labor and non-valorization of the worker. There is a whole question of the economic context as well,” explains the specialist in public policies and governmental management and one of the authors of the work, Natalia Fontoura.

Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (Pnad) was not carried out in the years 2000 and 2010. Source: Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA)


In addition to earning less, the survey also found that women work an average of 7.5 hours more than men per week because of the double shift, which includes domestic chores and paid work.

Comparisons with black men on average monthly salary from 1995 to 2015

Day laborer Sirlete Santos experienced it when she worked two shifts a day. “I was a teacher and I would go from from 7am until noon, take an hour for lunch and go from 1pm until 5pm,” she says. The heavy burden and uneven salary compared to other less-paid employees made her, after trying unsuccessfully to set up her own business, become a day laborer.

Sirlete Santos buscou a atividade para não ficar desempregada (Foto - Arisson Marinho)
Sirlete Santos sought the activity so as not to be unemployed (Photo – Arisson Marinho)

“Sometimes we still suffer from discrimination, but working as a day laborer I can earn more than the minimum salary. Most of the bills at home are the ones I pay for. I pay 80% of the expenses. I want to show all people that women can live alone, without depending on men,” she says. She is also the head of the household and responsible for all household tasks. “I do the house activities. Today, I know that this is something that my mother taught me wrong, because she thought the woman had to take care of everything and I took this culture forward and I prefer to do it myself,” she adds.

570 reais was the monthly income of the black woman in 1995. Today it’s reached 1,000 – 144% is how much more white men earn than black women – 7.5 hours is how much more black women work than men

The participation rate of women in the labor market increased sharply between the 1960s and 1980s, but in the last 20 years there has been a stabilization. According to Natalia Fontoura, women’s responsibility for home care work still continues to prevent many women from entering the labor market, and at the same time, those who enter the market continue to take care of housework. “This causes us to have double shift and work overload,” the expert analyzes.


According to Márcia Macedo, a researcher at the Center for the Interdisciplinary Studies of Women at the Federal University of Bahia (Neim/Ufba) and head of department of the Bachelor’s in Gender, one inequality does not act separately from the other. “When black women earn less than all women and all men, we see racism and sexism acting in an integrated way, which potentiates the power to produce these inequalities,” she points out.

Yet according to her, even if black women are currently more schooled than men, the integration of discriminatory systems continues to exclude these women. “This is absurdly worrisome because it causes a very large differential in terms of privileges and salaries.”

Source: Correio 24 Horas

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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