Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is on August 7 this year. And like last year, a spotlight will be shone on the earning disparities of black women as compared to our male counterparts.
Yet a new study shows that there still remains a lack of awareness around the pay gap Black women face. New research conducted by LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey in partnership with the National Urban League shows that there remains a striking lack of awareness around the pay gap Black women face. For example, one in three Americans is not aware of the pay gap between Black women and white men, and half of Americans are not aware of the gap between Black women and white women.
Further, forty percent of people who are aware of the pay gap Black women face underestimate its size.
So how big is the disparity? On average, Black women are paid 38 percent less than white men and 21 percent less than white women. That means Black women make about 63 cents on every White man’s dollar. As former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett described it last year, “it would take half a year’s additional work for Black women in America to close the wage gap.”
“The pay gap facing Black women is an urgent problem,” said Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org. The organization s launching #38PercentCounts, with the help of Adidas, Lyft, P&G, and Reebok, to force consumers to consider the impact of getting 38 percent less as they make everyday purchases on August 7.
“It has huge financial implications for millions of families. And it signals something deeply wrong in our economy,” Sandberg says. “We need to address the gender and racial inequalities that give rise to this imbalance—and create workplaces where everyone’s labor is valued, everyone is treated with respect, and everyone has an equal shot at success.”
The study also shows the significant differences in how Black women see the workplace compared to everyone else. About half of white men think obstacles to advancement for Black women are gone but only 14 percent of Black women agree. Also, nearly 70 percent of people who are not Black think that racism, sexism or both are uncommon in their company—yet 64 percent of Black women say they’ve experienced discrimination at work.
To fight back, ESSENCE is also challenging Black women to #AskYourWorth on August 7.
“We can still continue to be informed and empowered to know and request our worth and keep the pressure on workplaces for higher transparency and equality. Black women must be our own advocates.”
Check out the #AskYourWorth campaign here