Listen to this article here

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, in recognition of the fact that Black women make 63 cents for every dollar earned by a White man, took place on Tuesday, August 3. Today, Black women across the United States demand a more just and equitable pay scale.

While all women bear the brunt of workplace financial burdens compared to men, Black women are hit particularly hard. While only 1 in 5 women are company CEOs; Black women make up only 1 in 25 CEOs. 

Changing what success looks like

In fact, in order to make what a White man earns, Black women have to work the equivalent of over 200 days more. This statistic is unacceptable, and Black women are demanding a change in organization culture and norms. 

According to Melva LaJoy Legrand, founder and CEO of LaJoy Plans, a national event planning firm, “It is hard for a Black human to figure out how they can take up space and be successful in a Westernized world. You can’t be yourself, and it’s exhausting to try to be someone else in order to live up to this notion of what we’re told success looks like.” 

White House economist

Dr. Cecilia Rouse, the first Black woman chair of the President’s Council for Economic Advisors, knows that the pay disparity between Black women and non-Hispanic White men has been going on “forever,” as she confirmed in an interview with The Black Wall Street Times. The economist noted that many Black women are caregivers, in both paid and unpaid sectors, and highlighted the challenges facing Black women across the country. 

“We know that this country has a long way to go before it sees us for who we are. We must continue to work hard, to understand our value, to advocate for ourselves, and keep our eyes focused on what’s important. We must recognize and understand how important we are to this economy,” said Dr. Rouse. The Chair of the President’s Council for Economic Advisors further emphasized President Biden’s commitment to support Black women through Build Back Better, which includes plans to support Black women in moving beyond America’s pre-COVID-19 society, to an economy that is equitable for all. 

The year of the Black woman

Sponsored by the Equal Rights Advocates, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day includes a 12 p.m. CST conversation between Women Employed’s CEO Cherita Ellens and White House Correspondent, Political Analyst, and Author April Ryan. The topics discussed during the forum include ways to dismantle systemic barriers, grow the economic power of Black Women during the recovery and beyond, and close the wealth gap at the intersection of race and gender. Registration is still open for the free webinar

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day also includes a social media storm with the hashtags #BlackWomensEqualPayDay and #BlackWomenCantWait. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...