WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eight months is a long time — it’s a full year of college, nearly a full pregnancy, and even an entire sports season. It also marks how much longer Black women must work to be paid what White men received the previous year.
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is critical because it forces us to consider the unique social and economic experiences of Black women in America and takes our attention off averages. The wage gap Black women face is rooted not only in patriarchal attitudes toward women’s work, but historic injustices that denied social and economic uplift to African American communities, the effects of which are still unremedied today.
In 2018, Black women were paid only 89 percent of the wages Black men received and only 65.3 percent of the wages White men received, while White women took home 81.5 percent White men’s wages. Placing all of these specific statistics together creates a much more nuanced and accurate understanding of the economic oppression that Black women face.
We simply cannot talk about equal pay for Black women without considering both sexism and white supremacy, and by looking past averages, we can recognize that both the patriarchy and white supremacy must be dismantled to bring economic justice to Black women. This means we must ensure that women of color are able to access the same economic advantages and opportunities as White people, to correct historic inequalities, in our continued advocacy for Black women’s pay equality.
Our activism is only stronger for taking an intersectional approach to understanding issues like the gender wage gap, and today is a monument to that fact.