Today, 8 months into 2019, marks how much longer Black women have to work to make the same as white men. According to a study from the National Women’s Law Center, “Black women working full time, year round are typically paid only 61 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts — leading to a lifetime loss of $946,120.”
Closing the pay gap is about more than just wages, it’s also time to address the many systemic ways Black women, especially queer, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people, are impacted every day.
Whether it’s the lack of enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, lack of affordable childcare, the effect of the prison industrial complex, challenging pay disparity is only one part of solution. According to The National Women’s Law Center, “Black women filed workplace sexual harassment complaints with the Equal Opportunity Commission almost 3 times more than white women.”
This year, Women’s Foundation of California Board member Senator Holly Mitchell lead and passed The Crown Act. A piece of legislation that made California the first state to ban discrimination against black students and employees over their natural hairstyles. It’s through policy changes like this that culture change and equity will be reached.
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is over two weeks later than it was last year. Instead of making progress, this country is failing Black women. It is only through both culture and policy change that real change can be made. Equal work demands equal pay. Until the experiences and expertise of communities most impacted by systemic injustice are centered, until Black women and their experiences are centered, there will not be true racial, economic and gender justice.