Black Women Need a Raise, Too

By Edwith Theogene

As you may already know, the average woman earns only 78 cents to every dollar a man makes. This year, we recognized Equal Pay Day on April 14 in recognition of how long into 2014 women would have to work in order to earn the same amount men earned in the previous year. However, did you know that black women on average make only 64 cents to that dollar?

That is a mere five percent point gain over the general pay disparity between men and women that existed when the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963. Furthermore, black women earn only 82 cents of what their white counterparts earn. These disparities are outrageous, yet this particular wage gap does not receive as much widespread recognition as the 78 cents statistic.

To put this wage gap in perspective, in 2013, the average income of a black woman was $19,399 less than the average white male’s income. A black woman would have to work 209 additional days into 2015 in order to earn what a white man earned in the previous year. Additionally, over the course of a 40-year career, black women lose $775,000 to the wage gap. To earn what a white man earned in 40 years, a black woman would have to work an additional 23 years.

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day falls on July 28, much later than the recognized Equal Pay Day. Atlanta Women for Equality wishes to bring awareness to the wage gap black women face and work to eradicate this inequality.

Today Atlanta Women for Equality will be leading a social media campaign to bring awareness to black women’s pay disparity. We encourage people of all races and genders to post a selfie of themselves symbolically clocking out at 2:07PM—the time during a 9 to 5 workday that a black woman would stop working to account for this pay disparity if she were paid the same as a white man. Using the hashtags #EqualPay4BlackWomen and #ClockOut4EqualPay, we hope to make the wage gap black women face a trending topic. We also aim for people to use this day to educate themselves and others about the wage discrimination black women face.

Spread the word about Black Women’s Equal Pay Day to your friends and networks. To make things easier, Atlanta Women for Equality has printable symbolic time cards you can use in your selfies and sample tweets on our webpage, which you are welcome to use. We also encourage you to attend and share our Facebook event for Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.

By Edwith Theogene

Edwith is an intersectional social justice activist and advocate passionate about issues that impact women and communities of color. She is a Washington D.C. based South Florida Native who loves people, quotes, coffee, and pop culture, especially 90’s tv shows.

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