Unequal Pay for Black Women Affects Us All: Here’s How

By: Katie Cherrix

It’s August 22nd, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, but research suggests that women of color may still be making less than their Caucasian counterparts. While white women earn about eighty cents of every dollar that white males make, black women earn a shocking low of sixty-seven cents on every white man’s dollar, thirteen cents less than white females.

It’s hard to believe that the pay gap is still this wide as we approach 2020; PayScale estimates that black women have to work an extra 215 days to match their white male counterparts’ income. All retorts that boil down to “life’s not fair” don’t hold up when the facts of the black female demographic are examined closely.

The vast majority of black women, a whopping eighty percent, are the primary income earners in their households. Women make up almost half of the workforce, and fifty-three percent of black employees are female. Black women also make up a large majority of educated degree-holders, and many of them run their own business.

While the numbers may look bleak, there are steps everyone can take to reduce the bias that perpetuates the wage gap. Recognizing what black women bring to the table, and the ways in which they stand out will be more impactful than turning a blind eye to color. Once society begins to recognize the pivotal role that black women play in the economy, black women can start to reach the same heights as their male and white counterparts.

Solutions to the wage gap reside in each and every one of us. Whether it’s an effort to intentionally include black women in workforce roles or diving deep into our subconscious thoughts toward them, there is something everyone can do to join forces against race and gender-driven biases that cause the wage gap. Never underestimate the power of awareness when it comes to fighting injustice. Many people are aware of the wage gap between men and women, but fewer know of the gap between white and black women.

This lack of awareness is why Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is so important. It’s a signal for everyone to stop and examine their own actions and internal biases. It’s a rallying cry to look at the numbers and the facts that change everything. Equality isn’t just moral, it’s critical to a thriving society and a booming economy.

Kayla Pasacreta