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Black female team leader on Black women's equal pay day

Source: NoSystem images / Getty

America cannot call itself a place that is fair, just and offers equality to everyone until its financial portfolio backs that up. And as of now, we’re falling far behind. With the pandemic and the recent Roe V Wade overturn intensifying every systemic issue that was already holding Black women back, this year’s Black Women’s Equal Pay day might be the most important to date. Even before these more current accelerants to the problem, The Department of Labor’s Bearing the Cost report showed that a Black woman who works full-time for 40 years will lose nearly $1 million in wages compared to a white man.

 

At the intersection of a minority and a gender that have historically received the worst financial treatment, Black women experience some of the highest financial vulnerability of any group. Women’s networking and advocacy group Lean In reports that, while white women make 73 cents to every dollar a white man makes, Black women are only seeing 58 cents of that dollar. The group’s report shows other disturbing data, like the fact that this discrepancy starts as early as the teenage years and even gets worse for college-educated Black women. Several forms of systemic gender and racial equality have worked together for centuries to create this cruel reality. And on today’s Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, every company should consider it their responsibility to reflect upon their practices and do their part to close this pay gap that has gone on far too long.

 

Audit Salaries Semi-Annually

Ethnic business people working together in the cafe.

Source: Evgeniia Siiankovskaia / Getty

For a number of reasons, including company culture and the demographic picture of a company as a whole, Black women do not always feel comfortable asking for a raise. Meanwhile, their white counterparts might feel welcomed and encouraged to do so, and over time, this is how the pay gap grows wider. Companies can take it upon themselves to conduct a semi-annual audit of salaries and look for major discrepancies between different racial and gender groups within the same role or level at the company. And then, if they see such a gap between Black women and their colleagues, fix it.

 

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