Race influences salary: Average salary difference between black women and white men is 56.4%, according to study



Note from BW of Brazil: There is no doubt that black Brazilian women have great strides in many sectors of society. And much of this is due not only to increased access to higher levels of education but also because of the noise black women have been making with their organizing to bring more attention to issues that specifically affect them. But another reality is that, as black women started off so far behind other segments of the population, they still lag far behind in terms of representation and opportunity, which in turn affects their earnings. But in emphasizing this reality, let’s not ignore a few facts. Some of the inequality that comes out in salary inequalities can be traced to the different areas and choices of study that separate black women from white men and women, but it is also true that, in some cases, a black woman, as well as a black man can be passed over for a certain position, even having the same or better credentials as their white counterparts. It is a system of discrimination that is simply a reflection of a society in which continues to play a prominent role in the success or lack thereof that one may have throughout their lives. 

Race influences remuneration

Average salary difference between black women and white men is 56.4%, according to study

By Ludmila Pizarro

The salary of a black woman in Brazil is, on average, 26.5% lower than that of a white woman. And she has a 56.4% reduction against the remuneration of a white man. “White men with a college education earn, on average, R$ 6,590. The average salary of white women is R $ 3,915. Black women, on the other hand, have the lowest income among women with a college education. Their average income is R$ 2,870, while black men with a college education earn R$ 4,730,” says the president of the Instituto Locomotiva, Renato Meirelles, who did the study.

influencia remuneração (Lorena Souza afirma que se sente mais)
Lorena Cristina Souza, 29, says she feels safer and more productive in a company that has policies of racial and gender inclusion

Lorena Cristina Souza, 29, is a Java developer, a specialist in geo-processing, and perceives differences in treatment in the labor market. “In my first job in Belo Horizonte, I worked with 20 men, and they began to make cuts. I was the first to be cut, the only female developer. And I was delivering as well as the boys, delivering even more than a few. It was in 2012, when I began to understand the weight of being a woman,” she reports. She says she also felt the racial issue in her career. “Tit exists, there are white women who have had more opportunities. What I did was try to look more like white women: to have cabelos escovados (Brazilian hair straightening/Brazilian Keratin Treatment) (see note one), to wear a suit, until I got to ThoughtWorks. It was a strategy to survive and dig the opportunities,” says the professional.

Since 2016, Lorena has worked at ThoughtWorks (TW), a multinational technology company with an office in the capital of Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte) and internal policies for the inclusion of women and black people. According to the company’s director of social and economic justice, Renata Gusmão, 32% of the company’s employees in the country are black. “We have a group of black women who are directing the main goals for the racial question within ThoughtWorks,” Renata says. As far as wages are concerned, she says that the company considers the reality of the contracted worker. “The fact that we know what happens in the market gives us inputs for more intentional measures in order to minimize possible inequalities. If we consider only the current salary, we will be committing an injustice, since wages are lower (in the case of black women),” he explains.

For the president of the Associação Brasileira de Recursos Humanos em Minas Gerais (Brazilian Association of Human Resources in Minas Gerais) (ABRH-MG), Eliane Ramos, companies should be responsible for promoting equality and diversity. “It is the company’s role to create policies and metrics to know how many men and women are hired and promoted. It’s necessary that the head of the company, the president, human resources are committed, “he says.


“Businesses supporting minorities is very important. (At TW) I feel safer, more empowered and therefore more productive. I don’t need to be ashamed of my hair, my body, my clothes. Having a diverse audience here makes us think of technology in the broadest way.”

Sector without representation

For the founder of the women’s appreciation movement in technology She’s Tech, Ciranda de Morais, the sector’s biggest problem is not salary but representation. “In this sector there are salary disparities with all others, but in it the lack of women it’s the worst,” she says. According to Unesco, only 17% of programmers in Brazil are women. For Ciranda, the problem begins in school. The Sociedade Brasileira de Computação (Brazilian Computer Society) says that they occupy only 15% of positions in courses such as computer science and engineering.

“It is a cultural problem that comes from childhood, from the toys of girls, which are linked to domestic tasks, and those of boys, aimed at professions and exploration of the world. A recent survey showed that, until age 10, girls do better in math; then the scenario reverses. This happens because of lack of incentive,” she says.

“I’ve noticed (the absence of women) since college. Of 40 students, two were women,” says developer Lorena Souza. “It comes from society not seeing the woman as fit for the exact (sciences), but that’s a lie. Women can be wherever they want,” she concludes.

Source: O Tempo



  1. Brazilian hair straightening is a semi-permanent hair straightening method done by temporarily sealing a liquid keratin and a preservative solution into the hair with a hair iron. The technique has many variations and is known by several other names and brands, including Brazilian Blowout, Breezilian straightening, Brazilian Keratin Treatment, BKT, and Keratin Cure.[citation needed] It is called Escova Progressiva in Brazil and Alisado brasileiro in Portugal. The original formulation included formaldehyde H 2CO or methylene glycol H2C(OH). 2. The two products readily interconvert, and coexist in chemical equilibrium, when dissolved in water or body fluids. Since formaldehyde is a known health hazard, the compositions have been banned in several countries including Canada and the European Union. It is still performed in the United States, though there are regulations and have been controversies regarding the treatment. Source


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

1 Comment

  1. Good Article!! It is very true we as black people tend to make less money than our white counterparts. I have been hearing about this topic since the early 90’s, yet the situation has not gotten better and I see it is no different in Brazil.

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