Brazilian Black Female Workers Make Half As Much As White Women

Black and mulatto women in Brazil receive, on the average, around half of what white female workers are paid. This is one of the findings of a survey conducted by the Special Secretariat for Women’s Policies, based on data gathered between July and September, 2005, in six Brazilian capitals.

According to the study, the biggest difference exists in the city of Salvador, Bahia, where black women receive, on the average, 1.9 minimum wages [monthly], compared with the approximately 4.6 minimum wages earned by white women.

A minimum wage is equivalent to around US$ 130. In Rio de Janeiro, where white female workers receive 3.6 minimum wages, their black counterparts earn half this amount.

The Special Secretariat’s undersecretary of Planning, Ângela Fontes, believes that the data demonstrate that there is still racial prejudice in Brazilian society.

"Historically, these women were deprived of schooling and job training. To a great extent they are engaged in informal jobs and the market for domestic workers," she commented.

According to Fontes, the data indicate that the government should make a greater effort on the issue of race and gender, investing in schooling, job training for women, and raising awareness about workers’ rights.

The study, which was completed in December, covered the cities of Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Recife, and Porto Alegre. The research was based on data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics’ (IBGE) Monthly Employment Survey.

Agência Brasil

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