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Wage Disparities in Academia for Engineering Women of Color and the Limitations of Advocacy and Agency

Ebony McGee, Monica F. Cox, Joyce B. Main, Monica L. Miles & Meseret F. Hailu

Nationally, White women take home just 82 cents for every dollar that men do. Meanwhile, Black and Latina women are paid just 63 and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic White men. Undergirding these factors is the devaluation of women of color (WoC), gender discrimination, and systemic racism (DeCuir-Gunby et al., 2009; Kim, 2015; Author1, 2016, 2020; Author, 2022). Browne and Misra (2003) found that race and gender are mutually constructed, whereby they contribute to a social hierarchy that advantages some individuals over others. White men usually get affordances associated with advantages where others do not, whereas WoC disproportionately suffer cumulative disadvantages. “Women of color” is a term used to collectively refer to women who belong to racial and ethnic groups other than white or of European descent (Moraga & Anzaldúa, 2022). It is an inclusive and intersectional term that recognizes the diversity of experiences and backgrounds among women who identify with various racial and ethnic identities. These racial and ethnic identities include Black/African American, Indigenous/Native Peoples, Asian, Latina, Middle Eastern, and multiracial women.

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