It’s Black Women’s Equal Pay Day: Here’s what that means

By Melissa Locker

Remember how you worked all of 2018 and through much of August of 2019 and got paid for it? That was nice, wasn’t it? Well, because of the pay gap, it has taken black women until today to finally earn as much as their white male counterparts did in the 2018 calendar year. Black women who work full-time earn just 61 cents for every dollar made by white men.

In other words, black women have to work almost 20 months to earn the amount earned by some white male middle manager over the course of just 12 months. That’s eight months of unpaid labor. And it gets worse. Turns out that earning just 61 cents for every dollar a white man earns is actually a high point. In Louisiana, for example, the wage gap between white men and black women working full-time expands to as much as 48 cents for every dollar, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families.

That lost revenue adds up: Over a 40-year career, black women make $946,120 less than white men, according to the National Women’s Law Center. That loss of potential revenue has ripple effects, too, especially considering the fact that 80% of black women are their families’ primary or sole breadwinner.

So go ahead and “celebrate” Black Women’s Equal Pay Day by eating 61% of a piece of cake. Then, if you’re the person who signs the paychecks at your company, mark the occasion by putting together a spreadsheet of all your employees’ pay, seeing whether your company is paying men, women, and people of color differently for the same work, and then leveling the playing field by handing out raises, Oprah-style.

In case you’re planning ahead, note that Native Women’s Equal Pay Day doesn’t arrive until September 23, and Latinas’ Equal Pay Day isn’t until November 20.

 
 

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