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Black Women’s Equal Pay day, which was August 3, marks the extra 214 days Black women have to work in order to make what non-Hispanic white men make in a year. In total, Black women have to work 579 days to make what they make in 365 days.

Black women make 63 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic makes. This equals a wage gap of $2,009 a month, $24,110 a year and $964,400 over a 40-year career span, CNBC noted.

Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center, told CNBC Black women suffer from a significantly lesser wage across 94 percent of occupations. Even for Black women who are essential workers,  the gap is persistent. The Economic Policy Institute found that Black women who are essential workers make 11% to 27% less than white men.

The COVID-19 pandemic also affected the pay gap. In May 2020, the unemployment rate for Black women hit 16.6 percent. Though there isn’t concrete evidence that the pandemic widened the gap, Gloria Blackwell, senior vice president at the American Association of University Women, told HuffPost that it was a factor in a setback.

“It’s been pretty clear from the research that has come out that some of the gains we’ve seen over the past several decades at least may have been erased and the pay gap itself is going to take longer to close.”

Blackwell also pointed out that student loan debt contributes to the wage gap as well.

“Student loans figure into this as well,” Blackwell said. “We know Black women have more student loan debt overall. And many of these stop-gap measures, housing, student loans, many of these things are left to fall by the wayside and people have to start pretending that the pandemic never happened. They’re going to have an inordinate impact, a greater impact on Black women. Black women’s earning power has clearly been hurt by the pandemic, and that will certainly contribute to a widened pay gap.”

One of the ways to close this wage gap is to have more Black women in leadership roles.

“What happens in the workplace is we tend to hire people who look like us … who think like us, who have a similar background as us,” Tucker told CNBC. “We’re never going to get to a point where companies are hiring Black folks into these important roles, unless there’s, you know, Black folks already in those roles.”

NYU Wagner professor Minda Harts recommend more diverse hiring practices for higher level positions.  She also called for a diverse hiring committee to help address internal bias when hiring.

“What I am recommending is for companies and organizations to be intentional about having a diverse slate of candidates for all future positions at every level,” she wrote in a NBC article. “And in addition, a diverse hiring committee should be formed to participate in the interview process.”

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