OPINION: Black Women’s Equal Pay Day 2021: We Demand Our Whole Dollar



Immediately (August 3) is Black Ladies’s Equal Pay, which is a day that highlights the monetary disparities that Black ladies expertise that may end up in a mess of unintended penalties.  The Black ladies wage hole is a menace to the economic system, the Black household, and society as a complete. Due to this fact, continued consciousness and our collective activism is required on this second  to demand that Black ladies are paid. 

Earlier this yr, Vice-President Kamala Harris acknowledged, “The burden of guaranteeing equal pay is not on ladies alone. It is on all of us. And equal pay will profit all of us, too. As a result of after we raise up ladies, we raise up households, we raise up communities, and all of society is healthier off”.

Black ladies dwell on the intersection of racism and sexism, all whereas trying to dismantle white supremacy. Moreover, Black ladies expertise occupational segregation and are funneled into jobs primarily based on gender norms.  Implicit and specific bias can be causal proof as to why Black ladies assume roles that aren’t at all times as profitable because the employment alternatives of their white counterparts. 

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In response to the Nationwide Partnership for Ladies & Households, if Black ladies had been paid what we had been owed,  via the course of our lifetimes, we might be capable of afford:

  • 2.5 years of childcare
  • 156 extra weeks of meals
  • 22 extra months of lease

Everyone knows that Black ladies are the spine of this nation and proceed to indicate up when this nation wants us probably the most, but we proceed to face super discrimination in our each day lives. Now, greater than ever, we want our elected leaders to help Black ladies by serving to to shut the wage hole. This battle would require Black ladies and their allies to advocate for elevated intentionality from employers and transformational coverage change on the native and federal ranges to shrink the hole. 

The disparities in pay are evident as working ladies solely earn 82 cents for each greenback that white males earn, in accordance with the U.S. Division of Labor. Black ladies particularly solely earn 63 cents for each greenback

that white males are paid.  On common, it takes Black ladies 19 months to acquire the identical sum of money that their white male counterparts earn in a single yr. 

In 2015, it was reported that the median wealth for single Black single ladies is just $200, in comparison with $15,640 for single white ladies and $28,900 for single white males. Gender-based pay has been unlawful since 1963 however has thrived in workplaces that deter its staff from discussing their wages.

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Within the workforce, Black ladies are sometimes pushed out on account of their unpaid obligations resembling caregiving. Paid medical depart is usually an incentive for girls to return to work. Nonetheless, it was reported in 2019 that solely 19 % of employers supplied paid household depart, and solely 40 % supplied short-term incapacity. The unpaid obligations Black ladies carry may end up in fewer hours labored.  In some circumstances, they could solely work part-time, which leads to decrease pay than their counterparts. Congruently, Black moms solely earn 50 cents for each greenback {that a} white man earns. 

Shirley Chisholm as soon as stated, “Authorized discrimination between the sexes is, in nearly each occasion, based on outmoded views of society and the pre-scientific beliefs about psychology and physiology. It’s time to sweep away these relics of the previous and set additional generations freed from them”. 

 This yr, Black Ladies’s Equal Pay Day feels uniquely pressing as a result of COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Black ladies. Black ladies typically have fewer assets to face up to the hardships related to the pandemic, and greater than 1 in Three Black ladies are important staff, and plenty of have misplaced their jobs. This phenomenon is usually known as a “SHE” cession. 

Moreover, Black ladies have additionally struggled in the course of the pandemic to satisfy their fundamental wants, resembling paying lease and paying for childcare.  The fact is that with out intervention, Black ladies might not attain the financial parity of white males till the yr 2130. Black ladies deserve higher than this and can’t afford to attend for an additional hundred years for equality. Black ladies want daring and fast motion to assist them get well from the pandemic and reenter the workforce. 

Amongst legislative actions addressing honest pay are the Lilly Ledbetter Honest Pay Act of 2009 and The Paycheck Equity Act, which simply handed the Home of Representatives this April –  each are nonetheless being thought of within the U.S. Senate. As well as, states resembling California and New York have been shifting in the direction of extra transparency of pay within the office. That is why it’s extra vital than ever that we actively maintain our elected officers accountable to succeed in pay fairness for all ladies.

Black ladies have remained resilient regardless of the adversities that we have now confronted. It’s time for the nation to carry us up and pay us our entire greenback as a result of when Black ladies thrive, it results in a ripple impact that impacts all the nation. 



Glynda C. Carr is the President and CEO of Larger Heights for America, the one nationwide group offering Black ladies with a political residence solely devoted to harnessing their energy to increase Black ladies’s elected illustration and voting participation and advance progressive insurance policies. Comply with her on Twitter @glyndacarr.


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