Black Women’s Equal Pay Day: Inequalities In The Workplace

by: Sanuree Pathiranawasam

August 3rd marks Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which represents how much more the average Black woman has to work than her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart did in the previous year to achieve the same pay. Although this disparity has been an issue for decades throughout the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of women out of the workforce, with female racial minorities being disproportionately affected.

Nearly 2.1 million women were forced out of the workforce in 2020, including 564,000 Black women and 317,000 Latinas.

The Long-Term Implications Are Not Looking Good

On this Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, Black women have to work an extra

214 days

to catch up to what her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart earned in 2020. When considering parental status, the implications are far worse.

Black mothers earn only 50 cents for every dollar that a white father makes. Not only does this pressure mothers to take on more shifts at work or an additional job, but it has been found to hinder the lifelong success of their children.

Bias in the Workplace

Bias is a significant factor in the workplace. At times, Black women are pressured to name their children white names, given that Black applicants who use white-sounding names on resumes are more than 2x likely to get called for an interview. This racial bias, whether conscious or unconscious, alludes to the systemic racism that prevents Black women from excelling in their careers.

Bias in the workplace can also lead to broader implications, like widening the racial wealth gap.

Given the sheer power of generational wealth and the racist laws that prevented Black Americans from purchasing houses early, a white household headed by a person with a high school diploma has nearly 10x the wealth of a Black person with the same degree.

What Can I Do About It?

Here’s some good news: companies can implement hiring practices that prioritize Black women. This does not mean preferential treatment, but an intentional plan to prioritize minorities and bridge the equity gap.

Consider Deloitte Canada, which has created employee resource groups such as the Canadian Black Professional Network (CBPN) to “recruit, retain, and develop women in an environment where they can maximize their potential.” Or EY’s ‘Women. Fast forward,’ a platform that engages people, clients, and communities to advance gender equality.

Diversio is helping companies by implementing these solutions and more, to directly solve your biggest D&I pain points and get ahead of any future potential issues. By recognizing that Black women unjustly experience financial inequality, companies across the globe can take action against the issue accordingly.

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