Four Things You Can Do on Black Women's Equal Pay Day
Today, August 13th, is the approximate day a Black woman must work into the new year to make what a white non-Hispanic man made at the end of the previous year. Based on ACS Census data, the 2020 wage gap for Black women compared to non-Hispanic white men is $0.62. Today reminds us that $0.62 to the white male dollar is unacceptable while also acknowledging that Equal Pay Days for Native American and Latina women are even later in the year.
According to Women Employed, Black women already had less money in their pockets to weather a crisis such as a global pandemic. Exacerbating the issue, Black women are more likely to be essential workers AND more likely to have lost their jobs amid COVID-19. They’re also essential at home and play a vital role in maintaining the economic stability of their families and communities. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found in May that 4 out of 5 Black mothers (79 percent) are breadwinners, with a majority of Black mothers (56 percent) raising families on their own.
Further compounding the divide, women - particularly Black women - are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and underrepresented in high-wage jobs. And even in the jobs where women make up the majority, they’re still underpaid relative to men. At the current rate, Black women will have to wait until the year 2130 to earn equal pay with white men. Over a 40-year career, Black women lose almost $1 million to the wage gap, analysis by The National Women’s Law Center shows.
The gender pay gap is complex and closing it requires inclusive solutions. Here are four things you can do on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day:
1. Listen to Black women. Tune in on Thursday, 8/13, 12pm CST at www.facebook.com/EqualPayToday for a national conversation about race, economic theft, and how the subminimum wage for tipped workers hurts Black women nationwide.
2. Download the MKE Black App. Support the rise of funding to Black women-led businesses & initiatives to address systemic barriers to advancement. Here in Southeastern Wisconsin, the MKE Black App is a great place to discover your next favorite Black-owned restaurant, shop, service and/or more resources.
3. Keep business leaders accountable. Nearly 40% of Black workers can't access paid sick days (source: The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis). When they or their families get sick, they lose wages—or even their job—for staying home. Call on your business leaders to provide benefits that lead to economic security for women, including paid vacation, retirement benefits, paid sick days and flexible work hours. Furthermore, decision makers can ensure their workers are being paid fairly by conducting an Equal Pay Review. Here’s a free template to get started.
4. Learn about the effects of Salary History Bans. Researchers at Boston University recently found that, following the implementation of salary history bans (SHB), pay for Black and female job switchers saw pay increases of 13 percent and 8 percent, respectively. So far, 16 states and 17 local governments (plus Puerto Rico) have banned employers from asking candidates about their pay history. On the other hand, Wisconsin has passed preemption legislation to prevent the passage of salary history bans.
The Women’s Leadership Collaborative’s mission is to achieve equity for ALL women. We cannot achieve gender equity without racial equity. By dismantling barriers and systems of oppression holding women of color back and fighting for equal representation in places where decisions are made, we’ll accelerate closure of the wage gap for everyone.
For more resources on the gender pay gap visit www.wlcmke.com/resources.
For more resources about Black Women’s Equal Pay Day visit www.equalpaytoday.org.