On top of all the crazy news happening in the world, Black women systemically are still not getting our due coin. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is August 7th this year, according to Equal Pay Today. This day marks how much longer a Black woman has to work to earn the equivalent of her White male peer in the exact same role, the Economic Policy Institute reports. We literally are working more than twice as hard – with seven months of a year passing before we make what a White man was paid last year. Over our lifetime that equals more than $1million lost in wages. And even worse, our wage gap is increasing as the day moved back from July 31st last year.
Yes, the systemic barriers are real as we battle the patriarchy and racism embedded in the country and world, all showing up in how we are viewed and valued in the workplace.
But all is not lost. 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. ESSENCE challenges every Black woman to ask for your worth now.
Check out these myth and facts from Economic Policy Institute:
Myth #1: If black women worked harder, they’d get the pay they deserve.
The truth: Black women work more hours than white women. They have increased work hours 18.4 percent since 1979, yet the wage gap relative to white men has grown.
Myth #2: Black women can educate themselves out of the pay gap.
The truth: Black women have the country’s highest percent of degrees and two-thirds of Black women in the workforce have some postsecondary education, 29.4 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Black women are paid less than white men at every level of education. As Black women increase their educational attainment, their pay gap with white men continues to grow. The largest gap, of nearly $17 an hour, occurs for workers with more than a college degree. But even Black women with an advanced degree earn less, slightly more than $7 an hour less, than White men who only have a bachelor’s degree.
Myth #3: The wage gap is the result of Black women choosing careers that pay less.
The truth: In almost every occupation—both female-dominated and male-dominated—Black women earn less than White men. In various industries and occupations across the labor market, Black women earn less than White men. While White male physicians and surgeons earn, on average, $18 per hour more than Black women doing the same job, the gap for retail salespersons is also shocking, at more than $9 an hour. As Black women continue to be over-represented in low-wage jobs, policies that lift wages at the bottom will have a significant impact on their wages. An increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would affect more than one in four Black women workers.
We are counting how much we increase our salaries by Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. Share your story of negotiating for more using the tag #askyourworth and let us know what raises and benefits you secured.