WASHINGTON— NOW recognizes Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and the need for transformative change that addresses the gender and racial inequalities that economically plague Black women. Black women are the backbone of our workforce but are often ignored and overlooked due to sexism and misogynoir. Black women have to do twice as much and work twice as hard to receive half of the compensation owed to them. Currently, Black women make 58 cents to every 1 dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes. If one totals that up over a 40-year career, Black women are robbed of approximately $1 million.
Not compensating Black women equally keeps them in a cycle of poverty and despair. They continue to suffer at the hands of a system that was never built to protect them. Not only are they primarily the only source of income for their families, but they also hold the most student loan debt, have unstable healthcare and insurance, which includes reproductive health, have less access to childcare, and experience an increased amount of discrimination within the job force. Due to these inequalities, the gender and racial pay gap can lead to death among this population.
We cannot continue to put lives at stack. It’s time to end this cycle of discrimination and demand equal pay for Black women. If Black women were paid accordingly in a given year, they could afford 2.5 years of childcare, 174 weeks of meals, and 22 months of housing for themselves and their families. We must advocate for legislation that provides fair pay for all, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or religion. We must hold our employers accountable, especially if they are committed to a diversity, equity, and inclusion framework. DEI extends further than office behavior; it must also include closing wage gaps. Lastly, we must be active supporters in uplifting Black women and resources provided to aid them. When we all rally together, we can push for the change we want to see.
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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org.