September 21 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day this year, a major setback from recent years. This year, a Black women must work an extra 260 days to catch up to what white, non-Hispanic men made in 2021. During the pandemic, Black women lost income at an incredible rate, many losing their jobs entirely or being forced to choose different jobs with lower pay rates for flexibility to provide care for loved ones.
The pay gap is not a once in a lifetime event, it adds up over a lifetime costing Black women nearly $1 million over their lifetime and economic stability. The pay gap is a result of systematic racism, classism, and sexism and other types of oppression. Taking action together is the most powerful tool we have to fight inequity.
Closing the pay gap means facing the issue head-on: having difficult and taboo conversations about money and working together to make sure everyone is paid fairly regardless of who they are and what they look like.
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Black women are paid 58 cents for every dollar a white man makes. That means this year a Black woman would have to work an extra nine months to make the same amount. Over a lifetime, this adds up to over $1 million in earnings lost to the wage gap.
Black women experience a wage gap at every education level, and the gap is largest for the most educated Black women. Black women have the highest student loan debt of any racial or ethnic group, but among doctorate degree holders, Black women typically make 60 percent of what their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts are paid.
Older workers also face an even larger pay gap from age 45-64, a critical time for women to save and invest for retirement.
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The Black maternal mortality rate in the US is over three times higher than that of white women. Black mothers need access to vital accommodations on the job to protect their health and the health of their babies. Pregnant Black workers are also disproportionately represented in low-paid jobs, which are more likely to be physically demanding and require accommodations.
We must support moms throughout parenthood so we’re focusing on pregnancy first. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act helps protect moms on the job and keep them there. Tell Congress to support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:
On average, Black women lose a million dollars to the wage gap, many times losing out on pay during the negotiation process. Here are some tips for negotiating for what you deserve.
Pay Transparency solves one factor that contributes to the wage gap- secrecy. Being clear about how much employees make and the processes and factors that contribute to salaries can help women and people of color know exactly how much they should be making. Here’s some more info about pay transparency.