Gender, Race, Social Justice

What you need to know about Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

The intersection of gender and race is crucial in understanding Equal Pay Days

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Today, August 7th, 2018, is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day in the United States.

If you don’t know what this means, fear not, we’re here to provide some context.

The gender pay gap is no secret. In the United States, based on federal statistics from organizations such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the statistic that is typically thrown around is that women make somewhere from 70 to 80 cents to the dollar per a man. This number is based on taking the difference between the median income of women working full-time and year-round in the United States and dividing them by comparable men’s median income. As of April 10, 2018,  this number came out to roughly 80%. This is already egregious. By these measurements statistics, the average American woman would have to work a fifty-year career in order to make up the difference between her a male colleague doing the same work for forty years

The intersection of gender and race is crucial in understanding Equal Pay Days. Click To Tweet

Applying these numbers to comparisons of time puts them in a different light, and that’s just what Equal Pay Days do. Equal Pay Days raise awareness on the gender pay gap by marking how far into the next year a woman would have to work in order to make the same amount of money as a white, non-Hispanic man. For instance, for the year of 2017, Equal Pay Day for all women would ideally be December 31, 2017, denoting that women have made the same amount as their male colleagues over the course of 2017. The Equal Pay Days of 2018 signify how many extra days in a year it takes women to make the same amount as men in the same position in a year.

[Image description: A concerned black woman is visible from the neck up, with the 3¢ on the dollar is not enough. - Judy Miyashita]
Source: equalpaydaytpday .org [Image description: A short-haired black woman with a concerned look on her face is visible from the neck up, with the 3¢ on the dollar is not enough. – Judy Miyashita]
Equal pay for equal work is not a difficult concept to grasp. Click To Tweet

For black women in the United States, as of 2017, it takes an extra two-thirds of the following year to make what white, non-Hispanic men average in a year. Click To Tweet

It is important to note that that is Equal Pay Days plural. The reason for this is that the numbers are also strikingly different when broken up along racial lines. Statistics for 2017 as taken from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that, when compared to $1 for white, non-Hispanic men, Asian-American make 87 cents, white women make 79 cents, black women make 63 cents, Native women make 57, and Latina women make 54 cents. By putting that into the extra amount of time these women would have to work in order to make up the difference, we get each group’s Equal Pay Day. For black women in the United States, it takes more than two-thirds of the year.

This is unacceptable and important to remember. Gender and race intersect in ways that are quantifiable, and to ignore this picture would be to ignore the obvious.

Equal pay for equal work is not a difficult concept to grasp. Hopefully, the people in charge of determining pay, typically men, typically white men, can use some of their brain space to learn something new from these days. In the meantime, for more information, check out EqualPayDay.org. There, you can find more statistics on the breakdowns between gender, including those of mothers v. fathers, as well as resources for becoming more educated on these issues.

On Tuesday, August 7, 2018 there will be a Social Media Storm at 11am EST. Tweet with #BlackWomensEqualPay and #DemandMore and find resources images at http://www.equalpaytoday.org/black-womens-equal-pay-day.

Iman Jafri

Iman Jafri

Iman Jafri is currently pursuing a Masters in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, focusing on Islam and Muslims in America. She is particularly interested in media, communication, and heckling horrible movies that she also loves.

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