Supporting Women of Color on Black Women's Equal Pay Day

This week, on Aug. 7, we commemorated (not celebrated!) Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. In April each year, we commemorate Equal Pay Day For All. But it takes black women even longer to earn what a white man earns in one year. 

In other words,  it would take, on average, from Jan. 1, 2017, to Aug. 7, 2018, for a black woman to earn what a white man does in one year. 

“There are many contributors to the wage gap, including employment discrimination, gender and race-based bias, lack of pay transparency, an inadequate minimum wage and tipped minimum wage, unfair workplace practices, lack of affordable child care, lack of quality public education system, a dismantling of organized labor, and inadequate access to capital,” according to the Equal Pay Today campaign. 

So what can we do to narrow the wage gap, particularly between black women and their counterparts? 

Share Salary Information
This is one of the easiest steps you can take to ensure that you and your co-workers are paid fairly. Sharing information, both anonymously online at sites like GlassdoorFairygodboss or any other salary database can ensure that there is a broad, publicly available set of data on wages. Sharing interpersonally can help tackle any company- or team-specific issues surrounding fair pay. 

Negotiate for Higher Pay and Livable Wages
While data is unclear surrounding whether salary negotiation on a granular level does much to close the wage gap, doing so can ensure that you are taking steps necessary to get paid fairly. Beyond this, consider supporting policies that promote livable wages in your area. 

Support Maternity and Paternity Leave Policies
Ensuring that your workplace offers adequate paid family leave is a vital piece of the wage gap puzzle. Women who take time off from work to care for their children see a decline in wages over time, while men who have children see their wages increasing. Supporting family leave policies can help to narrow that gap between men and women after they have children.

Support Affordable Childcare Options in Your Area
Similarly, ensuring that daycare is affordable for working mothers is vital to ensuring that the wage gap narrows. Keeping the doors open to affordable childcare centers can help women get back to work without having to worry about paying too much for their children’s care. 

Invest in Black Women
Finally, if you’re in a position to offer capital to black women, either via Kickstarter or Patreon, or on a larger scale like through venture capital or even loans, take the opportunity! Black women receive capital from investors at a much lower rate than other groups. Investing can build businesses owned by black women, narrowing the gap even further.