Black Women Leaders & Equal Pay Advocates Discuss Wage Gap, Impacts & Solutions Ahead of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day
July 26. 2023
For Immediate Release
Jul 26, 2023
Washington, DC – In advance of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day (July 27), prominent Black women leaders and allies, including the nation’s oldest Black women’s organization, gathered to discuss new analyses of the wage gap for U.S. Black women, impacts on Black families, and potential policy solutions. Watch/listen to a recording of the press call here.
The average Black woman working full time, year round typically earns 67 cents for every dollar earned by the average white (non-Hispanic) man. When taking into account Black women workers, including those working part time, seasonal, and/or full time, the average is 64 cents per dollar.
This year’s Black Women’s Equal Pay Day will take place on July 27. Advocacy groups, lawmakers, celebrities, and supporters will raise awareness on social media and take action in efforts to close the gender and race wage gaps, increase minimum wage (including abolishing the subminimum wage for tipped workers), decrease occupational segregation, end wage theft, and more. For at least 10 years, advocates have observed Equal Pay Days for different groups of women throughout the year, shedding light on the fact that women — especially women of color — must work harder and longer to support their families due to pay inequality and other forms of workplace discrimination.
Additional Quotes from the Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Leaders
Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; National Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable:
“On this Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, we find ourselves in the midst of an earthquake. Yet again, Black women stand at the fault line where race and gender collide. We cannot ignore the glaring disparity in earnings that undermines our economic progress and perpetuates systemic inequality. While we shine a light on the problem, this day also symbolizes an opportunity for change — a chance to unite and advocate for solutions that will reshape our economic landscape. Let’s join forces to champion the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act and seize this moment to call on our leaders to invest in programs that uplift Black women. Together, we can dismantle the barriers that hinder progress and build a society where Black women thrive.”
Noreen Farrell, Executive Director, Equal Rights Advocates; Chair, Equal Pay Today Campaign:
“This Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is a critical moment to demand wage justice. Congress and states across the country are pushing policy reforms that can end pay inequities experienced by Black women. These policy reforms promote pay scale transparency needed for income equality, expand access to paid leave ensuring financial security, and raising wages in the lowest paid industries. These reforms combine with once-in-a-generation federal infrastructure investments topping $4 trillion to create millions of higher wage jobs, which must benefit Black women. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is not just about an equal paycheck. It is about radically changing the future of work for Black women contributing so much to our communities and the economy.”
Deborah J. Vagins, National Campaign Director & Director of Equal Pay Today, Equal Rights Advocates:
“Pay inequity, particularly for Black women and other women of color, continues to be a problem, despite important advances in the 60 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Black women suffer from pay discrimination and are overrepresented in industries that are underpaid and often lack basic workplace protections. Every year, Black women in the United States lose millions of dollars because of the gender and race pay gaps, harming their ability to pay for basic necessities and build wealth. We need updates to the law and other policy solutions, like passing the federal Paycheck Fairness Act and more investment of federal dollars in better and higher paying jobs. We urge federal and state policymakers to take action. Our economy and our communities will not be as strong as they could be, until the women who perform some of the most essential jobs are able to achieve economic security.”
Jocelyn Frye, President, National Partnership for Women & Families:
“As we commemorate Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, it is essential to remember how we got here. Racism and sexism continue to define and devalue the work that women do, particularly the work that Black women do. When we talk about the wage gap, it is connected to many factors: occupational segregation, the fact that women are caregivers and caregiving work is seen as less important and having less value, and discrimination. All of these issues collectively contribute to persistent pay disparities that have practical dollars and cents implications. Black women lose millions in income each year because they are being paid less than they are worth and these losses harm them and their families. More than 80 percent of Black mothers are primary, sole, or co-breadwinners, meaning that the loss of their income can be devastating for families. Black women deserve equal pay and it must be a priority.”
Emily Martin, Vice President for Education and Workplace Justice, National Women’s Law Center:
“A Black woman starting out today stands to lose more than $900,000 over the course of a 40-year career if we don’t close this race and gender wage gap. That is life-changing money—the kind of money that would enable Black women and their families to invest in education, buy a home, fund a comfortable retirement. We need our lawmakers to invest in Black women, by strengthening our equal pay laws and bolstering the workplace standards that help build economic security. It’s time to ensure Black women are paid what they are owed.”
Cassandra Welchlin, Executive Director, Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable:
“As we observe Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, let’s be reminded that this is aspirational, not celebratory. In the South, where slavery and Jim Crow showed up in its most brutal forms, Black women still wrestle with the vestiges of these free labor systems. As a result, Black women, especially in the South, often find themselves unable to make ends meet. This is particularly egregious because it is undisputed that Black women gave birth to the labor that made this country one of the greatest economic forces in the world. Equal pay for equal work is our right.”
Shavon Arline-Bradley, President & CEO, National Council of Negro Women:
“Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is an opportunity for employers to recognize the enormous potential of Black women and our right to earn what we deserve. Currently, it takes a Black woman 19 months to earn what a white man earns in just 12 months. As the voice of countless Black women across the country, NCNW refuses to accept this persistent devaluation and rejects the systemic sexism and racism that keeps Black women from economically sustaining themselves and their families. We urge Congress to support and pass policies, specifically the Paycheck Fairness Act, and lawmakers to ensure funds available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are distributed equally, and include Black-women owned businesses. These steps will help close the pay gap and ensure Black female job seekers, employees, and business owners are properly compensated for their work.”