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Black Women’s Equal Pay Day – A Primer

In 1996, the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) created Equal Pay Day to raise public awareness of the gap between men's and women's compensation.  In 2021, Equal Pay Day occurred on March 24th, but this nationally recognized day does not show the full impact of the pay gap, because the pay gap is even greater for women of color. In 2021, Black Women's Equal Pay Day will occur on August 3rd.

What does Black Women's Equal Pay Day mean, and why is it important to understand the intersection of race and gender in the pay gap.  A quick primer:

What does Black Women's Equal Pay Day mean?
 Black Women's Equal Pay Day acknowledges the pay gap faced by Black Women.  Black Women make an average of 63 cents for every dollar paid to White, non-Hispanic men, so it takes the average Black woman, working full-time year-round, 8 extra months to earn what the average White, non-Hispanic man earns in one year.

The current wage gap translates into an annual median loss of $24,110 for Black women.

At this rate, how long will it take for Black women to achieve pay equity?
 350 years.  At the current rate of change for closing the wage gap (a 4% change since 1998), the gap will not close for Black women until 2369.

What are the other Equal Pay Days?

  1. AAPI women - March 9, 2021
  2. Mothers - May 5, 2021
  3. Native American women - September 8, 2021
  4. Latina women - October 21, 2021

It is worth noting that women with disabilities, transgender women and queer women also face pay gaps.

What can you, as an individual, do to support equal pay? 

1. Be transparent about how much you make, and ask others as well
2. Encourage women to negotiate their salaries, instead of just accepting what is offered
3. Sponsor, mentor and coach female coworkers
4. Support men taking paternity leave
5. Advocate for female coworkers, including speaking up when women are spoken over, or excluded from meetings and activities
6. Recognise and address your own unconscious bia

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