Check this harsh reality: black women only make 63 cents for every dollar made by white men.Â Even harsher than that is the fact that 20 months’ worth of work by black women earns them what white men make in one year.
So today, August 23, 2016, can we really celebrate black women finally catching up to the earnings of white men, as compared to last year? Because despite equal workloads and equalâ€“if not moreâ€“responsibility in the home and, in many cases, the workplace, black women are still expected to make do with less.
According to the National Womenâ€™s Law Center, this pay gap has been costing black women $877,000Â in wages over a lifetime. If a glaring, nearly one million dollars lost to black women isnâ€™t enough for policy and decision makers to make the necessary changes to rid pay inequalities, what is?
Clearly, we are running a losing race. Not only are black womenâ€™s salaries grossly unequal to that of white male’s salaries, black womenâ€™s wages are also falling further behind white womenâ€™s. A report by the Economic Policy Institute found that,Â as of 2015, black womenâ€™s salaries were 66% of white menâ€™s, with white womenâ€™s salaries at 77% percent of white menâ€™sâ€”an 11% difference. This is a significantly widening gap from 1979, when black womenâ€™s wages were 58% of white menâ€™s and white womenâ€™s wages were 62% of white menâ€™sâ€”leaving a gap of four percent between white and black women.
Even if black womenâ€™s salaries did eventuallyÂ catch up to white menâ€™s two years out from now, would this day still be cause for celebration (because at least we caught up at some point)? Why don’tÂ we celebrate actual progress instead? Because the truth is, we remain far behindâ€”and continue toÂ fall even further.
Celebrate today if you must, but hold off your sincere round of applause until black women are actually earning equal pay, and thus have reason to wholeheartedly observe Black Womenâ€™s Equal Pay Day.