Black Women and Equal Pay Day – Fighting to Close the Gap

By: First Union | Date:

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Black Women and Equal Pay Day – Fighting to Close the Gap

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What is Equal Pay Day—this year it was April 2; this represents the day in 2019 until which a woman had to work to earn the same that her white, male counterparts earned by the end of the previous year. Definitely eye-opening. And for black women, that date is August 22—even more eye-opening.

Broken down as far as dollars and cents: black women earn 61 cents for every dollar a white man earns. One would think that with all of the strides made, this gap would be closed; however, in 2018 Equal Pay Day for black women was August 7, and even earlier in 2017.

The fact of the matter is that people just aren’t being paid fairly. And something needs to be done to address the situation—quickly.

Hashtags such as #BlackWomensEqualPay are trending, and numerous people, celebrities and activists alike, are getting behind them. The upside is that more and more women are sharing their stories across social media. And thus, attention is increasingly being paid to the issue. Calls are being made for this conversation to move to the national spotlight, and with good reason.

Many want to address the system as a whole, citing flawed policies and missing initiatives. Minimum wage is one such issue that needs to be addressed; raising it to $15 is an important step according to some experts. Also, pregnancy and family leave policies have to be revisited as they’re simply not meeting the needs of today’s workforce. Black women especially are more likely to serve as the head of household. Having adequate paid leave and more affordable childcare would help immensely.

Yes, the wage gap needs to be dealt with. The fact that there even is an Equal Pay Day is a sad commentary on where we currently stand. But we also need to look at other factors driving this wage gap and figure out how to more broadly balance issues of race, gender and pay in the workforce.

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