The Pay Gap for Black Women Isn’t Just Unfair, It’s Unconscionable.
August 3rd is Black Woman’s Equal Pay Day. It marks how long Black women must work into the year to make what White men made at the end of the previous year. You heard right. A Black woman has to work nearly eight months longer than her White male counterpart to make the same wage, this across job types, education, career field, employment sector, and other factors.
The pay gap for women overall is nothing to celebrate either. When you average in women of all races– White, Black, Native American, and Latina– the female workforce in this country labors an extra four months per year than their male counterparts.
Yup. Sexism is still alive and well in this country… but so is racism.
Black women experience both sexism and racism at the same time. It’s called intersectional discrimination. And that, my sisters, is a tough uphill climb. Intersectional discrimination compounds the effects of both forms of discrimination perpetuating wealth gaps for black women.
But hope is on the horizon. Think about powerful social movements like #Metoo and Black Lives Matter and how they’re impacting conversations about sex and race. We have learned that when we raise our voices in unison, change happens.
Black women make less across all industries. Hollywood included.
Celebrities like Beyoncé, Kerry Washington, Salma Hayek, Viola Davis, and Oprah, and many others, are using their star power to promote equal pay for women. In sports, the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer team has made women’s equal pay front page news. And there are scores of women in government and the legal system who are paving the way for equal pay as we go about our daily lives.
“Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.– Beyoncé
But let’s not forget, the fight for women’s pay equality has raged for decades. We stand on the shoulders of courageous women who have gone before us, many of whom are simply individuals who got sick and tired of the status quo and decided to take action.
What do a Walmart greeter, a telephone operator, and a factory worker have in common?
They are among the countless “ordinary” women who have accomplished extraordinary things in the fight for equal pay.
Walmart greeter Betty Duke led a class-action lawsuit in 2000 that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Though the case was ultimately unsuccessful, Walmart has been forced to settle dozens of pay discrimination lawsuits.
Lilly Ledbetter, a worker at the Goodyear tire factory, filed an equal-pay lawsuit that that paved the way for the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
Lorna Weeks, a telephone operator at the Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph company filed a discrimination suit against the company back in the early ‘60s and won– the first victory under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
And the list goes on. Which leads us to the point: you don’t have to be a celebrity to make a difference. If you believe you are being paid less for equal work, you owe it to yourself to contact us today.
“I’ll be happy if the last thing they say about me after I die is that I made a difference.”-Lilly Ledbetter
Take time out on August 3rd to recognize our Black sisters and learn how to make your voice heard. You in? Here are few thought starters:
- On August 3rd, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, join the in the conversation! #EqualPay, #BlackWomansEqualPay and #BlackWomenCan’tWait.
- Learn more about AAUW, an organization that’s been empowering women since 1881.
- Send a letter to your senator and ask them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act. All the work is already done for you, just go to AFL-CIO’s website, click on ‘take action’ and plug in your zip code. Done.
- Support N.O.B.E.L. National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, an organization that has served as a catalyst to provide economic and social justice for all classes and races.
- And be sure to check out EqualPayToday.org and follow them onTwitter @equalpay2dayorg and on Facebook.