Urge the Senate to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the National Organization for Women (NOW) recognizes Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and the need for tangible action to address pay disparities for Black women. August 3 symbolizes how long Black women must work into the year to earn the same amount of money that white men made at the end of 2020 – another 215 days, to be exact. Even with the same level of education, or higher, Black women are still earning less than other demographics including non-Hispanic white men, men, and white women. The disparities in Black women’s wages at all levels of employment keep Black women in poverty – it prevents them from being able to put food on the table, from accumulating wealth, and from having the type of financial security, so many others are afforded. Black women will continue to be at a disadvantage if the system does not change.
Black women can’t afford to wait while the system continues to fail them. Just look at the statistics:
- $0.63 is the amount Black women make for every dollar a non-Hispanic white man makes (women overall make $0.82 per dollar)
- 100 years is how long Black women will wait to achieve pay equality if this pay disparity continues
- 51% of Black women can barely afford basic necessities and 50% have less than $300 in their savings to fall back on in case of emergency
- Over 84% of Black mothers are the key breadwinners or co-breadwinners in their household, yet only make 52% as much as all fathers while working full time
- Black women are also overrepresented in hourly-wage and low-paying jobs, and in states with low minimum wages, they are at an increased disadvantage
Black women also bear the brunt of the pandemic in financially devastating ways:
- 40% of Black women had to tap into emergency savings or borrow money since the pandemic
- Black people were 26% more likely to need to use their stimulus check to pay their rent or mortgage (compared to White Americans who were able to put this into savings)
- A net 5.4 million jobs disappeared for women during the first ten months of the pandemic – many in the service sector where many women of color work
NOW demands equal pay for Black women because economic justice is one of our core issues. We are driven by intersectional feminism, and the compounding factors of race and gender along with structural inequities have put Black women at a serious disadvantage.
But we don’t have to accept this inequality as a norm; we can call on our leaders to take immediate steps towards change. An updated version of the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2019 was reintroduced with programs to eliminate the pay disparities for women and girls of color. The bill passed in the House but is currently stuck in the Senate. Today, on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, it’s time to call on our Senators to prioritize this legislation.
In our capitalist society, money is seen as financial freedom, and this freedom is currently being denied to Black women in drastic ways. As employers, companies, and organizations have a responsibility to end racial and gender-based discrimination, from hiring practices to wage discrepancies, that are maintaining the wage gap for Black women. As consumers, we can hold them accountable and demand that Black women earn what they deserve. Equal pay is a life-or-death issue for Black women– they cannot wait any longer for economic justice. NOW will continue to push for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act and work to uplift Black women who are the backbone of the workforce yet still go unheard and uncompensated.