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Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Reminds Us That There's More Than Just A Gender Pay Gap

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Today, July 31st, is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. Seven months have passed in 2017 so far, and the reason that today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is significant. To make the same money as their white, male counterparts in 2016, black women had to work seven more months into 2017. The wage gap between genders is impossible to deny at this point, but the divide between women of color versus white men is even worse. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “In all occupations—both female-dominated and male-dominated—black women earn less than white men.” Black women make only 67 cents for every dollar. The National Equal Pay Day was April 4th this year which represents the average wage gap of 80 percent. Black women have a separate day because it is important to acknowledge that inside the gender wage gap is a racial wage gap. A Glamour article states that Hispanic women are also making far less than their white, male counterparts coming out at about 59 cents for every dollar.

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The EPI stated that “In the last 37 years, gender wage gaps have unquestionably narrowed—due in part to men’s wages decreasing—while racial wage gaps have gotten worse.” Their data shows that white women have been getting closer to their deserved wage. Black women have been doing the same at a slower rate. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, it will take 107 years for black women to close the gender and racial pay gap and 231 years for Hispanic women.

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Today is a reminder that while women, in general, are progressing; some women face a gender inequality alongside a racial inequality. Black women have to work longer to get paid what they’ve earned, 7 months longer to be precise. Acknowledging the discrepancy between the pay gaps of specific groups of women allows us to better fight for the rights and equality of all women.

Photo Credit: Sarah Mirk, Flickr and the EPI

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