Equal pay for black women is today. Here’s why it’s September 21, 2022


It would take black women another nine months and then a few months to close the pay gap with white men. That’s why September 21, the ninth month of the year, is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.

Several organizations and governments recognize today, which draws attention to the large wage disparity between black women and white men. In 2020, black women earned 58 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, according to census data analyzed by the American Association of University Women.

This year’s figure includes black women who worked part-time or seasonally to account for the disproportionate impact of layoffs and caregiving responsibilities on women during the pandemic, according to the AAUW.

What is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day?

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day shines a light on the pay disparities black women face. The day stems from Equal Pay Day, which highlights pay disparities between women and men. Equal Pay Day was started in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity, according to the AAUW.

The day falls on a different date each year, based on the latest data on the gender pay gap. New days have been added to draw attention to the specific disparities faced by different groups of women, according to the AAUW.

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To match the wages non-Hispanic white men took home in 2021, black women would have to work an additional 264 days (until Sept. 21), according to the AAUW.

“This gap largely stems from the fact that black women are overrepresented in low-paying jobs and face both racial and gender discrimination in the workplace. They are also often both primary caregivers and breadwinners,” the National Women’s Law Center website states. “But outdated and sexist workplace policies too often force black women to choose between bringing home a paycheck and taking care of themselves and their families.”

Black women who worked full time lost $1,891 per month or $22,692 per year due to the wage gap, which amounts to $907,680 over a full 40-year career, according to the NWLC.

Pay inequity is perhaps nowhere more visible than in the C-suite.

A USA TODAY analysis found that white men are almost eight times more likely than black women to be executives. Black men, themselves underrepresented, are twice as likely to be executives as black women.

The next Equal Pay Days will take place in November and December for Indigenous and Latina women, respectively.

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