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What You Need to Know About Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

Actions matter, but they don’t always speak louder than words — at least not when it comes to gender parity in the workplace. In honor of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, we’re taking a critical look at the impact of what we say and how we say it.

woman covering her eye

Photo by Nicholas Bui on Unsplash

The term “gender pay gap” is one we tend to use as a catch-all phrase. In reality, it’s a lot more complicated than that. White women make on average 80 cents on the dollar as compared with white men. But, black women make on average just 63 cents on the dollar, according to PayScale.

Pay Day is supposed to mark the date that the “typical woman” has finally earned the same amount of money as the typical man. For black women and other women of color, that date is much later in the year. While the rest of the country already paid tribute to Equal Pay Day on April 2, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day falls today on August 22.


Here’s what else you should know about Black Women’s Equal Pay Day:

  • 80: The average number of cents that white women make on the dollar as compared with white men
  • 63: The average number of cents that black women make on the dollar, according to PayScale.
  • 142: The additional number of days black women work to make what white women make
  • 215: The additional number of days black women work to make what white men earn in a year.
  • 18: The gap has barely budged, narrowing just 18 cents in the past 50 years.
  • 80: The percentage of black women who are the primary breadwinners.
  • 53: The percentage of black women represented in the black labor force, while women overall account for about 47 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • 164: The percentage increase in the number of businesses owned by black women, which is nearly three times the rate of growth for women-owned businesses overall.
  • 64: Black women are also the most educated group in the US, with women making up 64 percent of black students who earn bachelor’s degrees.
  • $946,120: The average lost wages for black women over the course of a 40-year career, according to the National Women’s Law Center.


Why We Need to See Color

The way in which different dimensions of identity (race, gender, age, class, sexuality, religion, education, language, disability) interact determines how each person experiences the world. Yet, 72% of people around the world feel that most advertising does not reflect the world around them. We need to be brave and include more marginalized voices and perspectives.

“We’re a little afraid of having that conversation, so we have to stop underestimating the value of how much courage we have to have to actually enter into this conversation,” as Yrthya Dinzey-Flores, VP, Diversity and Inclusion and CSR, Warner Media, said in The FQ Lounge @ Tribeca Film Festival. “On the flip side of that, [it’s about] developing enough empathy so that we can become vulnerable in those spaces to actually have these conversations. It’s tough, but it’s a journey that’s absolutely worth it because the reward will be immense.”


Challenge Stereotypes

Focusing on gender in isolation is not enough— nor is it enough to simply eliminate stereotypes that objectify people. It’s time to produce progressive advertising that reflects the complexity and intersectionality of real life. Advertisers can truly free us from stereotypes by depicting individuals as empowered, multi-dimensional actors. As Elizabeth Lindsay, President of Brands and Properties at Wasserman, recently said in The FQ Lounge @ MLS All-Star, “Women are multidimensional, which means brands have multidimensional stories to tell. We just have to be committed to telling those stories.”


Being truly diverse and inclusive means tackling outdated stereotypes that perpetuate pay inequities, discrimination, and exclusion. When we create equal financial opportunities for everyone, it’s a win for us all.


For more tips on how to become aware of invisible stereotypes and action steps for change, check out:

In Her Words: Is Our Diversity & Inclusion Culture Coming Up Short?

Stereotype Busters Take a Stand Against Being Diverse-ish

How to Make Diversity a Reality