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It’s Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, and there’s a lot of work to do

It’s Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, and there’s a lot of work to do
[Photo: Flickr user WOCinTech Chat]

Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which is the point on the calendar (August 7) that marks how long a black woman has to work into 2018 to catch up to the same amount a white man made in 2017. Yes, it takes eight long months of work for a black woman’s pay to be equal to that of a white man–even longer than it takes for white women, who marked Equal Pay Day on April 10.

That’s absolutely egregious.

On average, black women are paid 38% less than white men and 21% less than white women, according to LeanIn.org. And in some states, the wage gap is even bigger, such as in Louisiana, where black women earn less than half of what white men make. The wage gap isn’t shrinking, either. A recent report by the New York City comptroller found that the wage gap between black women and white men in New York City is widening. Per the Wall Street Journal, black women in the city made 57 cents for every dollar white men made in 2016, which is the most recent data.

That slow slog toward pay equality takes a lifetime toll. According to the National Women’s Law Center, this gap widens over the course of a woman’s career, with black women losing almost $870,000 in potential earnings just because of their gender and the color of their skin.

If that weren’t depressing enough, black women actually have it better than Native American women, who won’t hit equal pay until September 27, and Latinas, who have to wait until November 1 to hit equal pay. It’s just hard for women of any color to catch up when they are paid significantly less than men.

In short, there’s a lot of work to do.

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