Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A quarter, a nickel, and three pennies is the typical difference between the amount that Black women are paid for a full-time job versus their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts. And while that 33-cent difference may seem trivial, it costs Black women $1,891 per month, $22,692 per year, and more than $900,000 over a 40-year career. Today, we recognize Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and the need to balance the scales between what we receive and what we are worth.
Our country’s unsettling relationship with gender and racial wage gaps is inseparable from the labor history of America, beginning with the exploitation of Black women during slavery. This sophisticated theft created lasting disparities in various areas beyond the wage gap. NOW, committed to intersectional feminism, acknowledges how instrumental women of color were in fueling our nation’s economic growth. While we cannot reverse the lasting imprints left on several generations of minority Americans in the past, we are fighting for the present and the future to dismantle the systems that obstruct equal opportunity.
For this year’s Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, we urge federal lawmakers to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will modernize and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to better combat pay discrimination and truly close the wage gap. Let us all work together to implore Congress to strengthen the law and provide new tools to ensure women – especially women of color – are paid what they deserve.