August 3 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. It marks the day in 2021 when the average Black woman working full-time in the US catches up to the 2020 earnings of a white man.
Put another way, it takes an additional eight months for Black women to make on average what white men do.
According to Equal Rights Advocates, Black women in the US make 63 cents for every dollar white men earn. Only 17% of Black women are confident their employers are paying men and women equally, Time’s Up reported.
The organization also found that 55% of Black women they surveyed have faced gender or racial-based discrimination while attempting to get a job that pays more.
What That Means In the Context of COVID-19
Given the back drop of inequality Black women faced before and during the pandemic, Equal pay day takes on new meaning. Over the last year, unemployment rates among Black women have been disproportionately higher amid the COVID-19 pandemic, furthering salary gaps.
As the nation moves toward economic recovery, the road back will be harder and longer for Black women, who also carry higher amounts of student loan debt than white women. Before the pandemic began, one study found that Black American households were financially vulnerable due to the 2008 financial crisis.
In the last year, millions of women left the workforce as the nation faced a child care crisis created by the pandemic. Black Americans –– who are overrepresented in jobs labeled as "essential" –– risked exposure to the coronavirus and died at higher rates than others.
The disparities in pay for Black women have implications on every aspect of life: housing, kids' schooling, adequate healthcare and food access, and more. Without equal pay, social justice and change, cycles of inequality continue.
On Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, you can get involved through a number of online events. Check them out below.
On August 3 and every day, here are three additional organizations that aim to elevate Black women in the workplace to join or support.