Today (Sept. 21) is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which denotes how far into the year a Black woman has to work before they catch up with white men’s earnings.
In 2022, on average Black women make 58 cents for every dollar earned by white men according to Lean In. This is down from a few years ago, when 63 cents was earned by Black women for every dollar in 2020. This has dropped due to the devastating affects of COVID-19 to the female labor force.
“Caregiving duties are falling on women across the board, and Black women are more likely to be family breadwinners and also single mothers,” says Chandra Thomas Whitfield, journalist and podcast host of In The Gap in a 2020 interview with Forbes. “This year’s (2020) Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is especially unique, because we are either working from home or, if you’re an essential worker, trying to figure out childcare. At the same time, research shows that women and minorities tend to be the first fired and last rehired during an economic downturn, so it will be even harder for Black women to catch up.”
Two years later, not much has changed and it’s important to talk about it. Although this is a time to spotlight Black women’s specific challenges, other groups aren’t that far behind. Here’s a look at why intersectional awareness of Black Women’s Pay Inequity is crucial to everyone.
Because other minority groups are facing pay inequity as well. A win for us is a win for all.
The average Black woman who works full time is paid on average just 83 percent of what a man is paid. Black women aren’t the only ones immensely affected by pay inequity. For example, Native Women’s Equal Pay Day is November 30 and they are paid 50 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Until one racial group advances, others are likely to be devastated as well.
Because when Black women earn more, the entire US economy is the better from it.
Studies show that when you invest in Black women, everyone is better from it. Goldman Sachs’ research shows that one of the fastest ways to accelerate change and effectively begin to address the racial wealth gap is to listen to and invest in Black women. Their Black Womenomics research focuses on the wealth gap, its relationship with these economic disadvantages, and the public and private investment opportunities to help close these gaps.
Because Black women are overrepresented in minimum wage jobs—but higher pay means a better economy for all
Black women workers are overrepresented in low-wage service sector jobs, which were among the hardest hit during the pandemic. This disproportionately affected Black women, but this could’ve been mitigated.
the federal minimum wage will stimulate consumer spending, help businesses’ bottom lines, and bump up the economy. According to democratic government officials’, even “a modest increase would improve worker productivity, and reduce employee turnover and absenteeism. It would also boost the overall economy by generating increased consumer demand.”