August 13th, 2020 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.
This event marks the approximate date each year to which Black women must work to earn what non-Hispanic white males made the year before. It’s not as simple as “leaning in” for us. We’ve done that for years. We’ve armed ourselves with the education, experience, and energy to break glass ceilings and now it’s time our pay and growth track in our careers reflect as much—no excuses, no delays, no holds barred.
“It is not female egotism to say that the future of mankind may very well be ours to determine. It is a fact.”– Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
Black women make about 62 cents on the dollar for our labor and while we’ve gotten by, why should we continue to just get by? Equal pay for Black women is long overdue and so is a fuller definition of what it actually means.
If you’re done playing by rules that were never meant to benefit us, you’ll want to check out these 7 rules from 7 boss Black women on what it takes to demand your worth both in pay and advancement at work. From interning like a boss to investing like one, these women have dropped gems you’ll be glad we mined for you.
Happy Black Women’s Equal Pay Day!
To hear a full Black Women’s Equal Pay Day compilation episode featuring Minda Harts, Juliette Jones, Lauren Simmons, Sherrell Dorsey, Arian Simone, Arlan Hamilton, and Dia Simms – listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere you get your podcasts.
"Because I had interned for him for so many years and he never offered me a job until Larry [Khan] did, I didn't take it. I stayed with Larry because he believed in me." "I felt like, '... I've interned for you for years. You know exactly what I'm capable of and you didn't want to take a chance on me.' The fact that he would not take a chance on me when I had proven to him that I could do the work really bothered me. As we've established now, I had a chip on my shoulder about respecting my intelligence. What mattered to me the most was that Larry didn't care that he was the first, and he didn't care that no one else had tried it out yet. He was willing to take a chance on me and it meant everything to me."
"Other employees on the trading floor would say. 'Oh, you're supposed to start from the bottom.' Which I agree, but then I don't because I think people should be worth their time. But ultimately I told them, 'You're not even paying me minimum wage.' And they were able to hike it up to $23,000. And that is how much I was making on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I don't think interns should not be paid. I do think people should be worth their time that they're putting in."
"People will tell you to get a free internship. And I was like, 'Look, I don't have that luxury. Y'all have to pay me. You want me to come here? You got to pay me.' I was the only intern getting paid. And I want to say I was making, nothing crazy, maybe $12 to $15 an hour, but I really negotiated and said, 'If you want me here, you're going to have to pay me.' And I used to bring my laptop to help fill orders and things like that. So I also proved to them, I can be of greater value to you all, and that's why you got to pay me. So I finessed a check out of that." (Editor's Note: Sherrell Dorsey's episode will air in the near future.)
"We make up less than a percent of the venture capital industry, not even just on the investment side. On the investor side, we need more African-American female investors in order to have more African-American female investments.. 2 percent of African-Americans [are investors] and of that, females are less than that. For those who are in the space, and they are looking to get into space, please even- feel free to email us like please connect. It's so important that we stick together on this."
"The position that we're in right now is that we have to work 10 times as hard for every penny. Just like our founders. It [then] took me 16-months to raise 1.2 million dollars," Hamilton said. "From the first check of $25,000 in September 2015 to reaching 1.2 million in December 2016, that was a 16-month period. While I was raising 1.2 in the last month, my white male counterpart was raising 12 or 120. You see?"
"I was interviewed for a chief of staff role. He called me back and said, "Look, we'd like to hire you, but you have not managed really large teams before. Would you be willing to come on as an executive assistant?" I was like, "You can call me the janitor. This is how much money I need to make and I'll be there tomorrow. Sometimes I think you've got to be willing to take a step back to take a step forward. I was like, 'Look, this is a guy who I can learn from.' And all my life is about in the pursuit of how much can I learn? Who can I learn from? And for me that was actually invaluable."