Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Underscores the Urgent Need to End Structural Racism in All Its Forms
“Today serves as a painful reminder of one of the many forms of oppression Black women in the United States face every day: the wage gap. On average, Black women are paid just 62 cents for every dollar paid to white men.This pay gap is even more punitive for Black moms, who are paid just 50 cents for every dollar paid to white fathers. This harmful, unjust gap results from systemic racism and sexism and does great harm to Black families’ economic security. It must end.
“The wage gap is even more devastating as COVID-19 continues to take a disproportionate toll on the health and financial security of Black communities and as our country’s police brutality epidemic rages on, specifically targeting Black neighborhoods and families..That is why support for the Movement for Black Lives and defunding the police is stronger than it’s ever been. Black women risk their lives in frontline jobs in health care, child care, and more to keep our communities safe and our country running. The pandemic has shined a light on this essential work even as it has laid bare the deep, painful inequities Black women face in the workplace, in health care, and elsewhere.
“It is long past time for policymakers to take bold action to close the wage gap and dismantle the structural racism and sexism that violently undermine communities of color.”
-Statement of Monifa Bandele, senior vice president, MomsRising
“Each year, Black women lose an average of $23,430 to the wage gap. These losses add up to an average of nearly a million dollars lost over the course of a 40-year career. No one should be shortchanged on her paycheck due to her gender, race, or sexual orientation, and these lost wages make it harder for hard-working Black moms to put food on the table, pay for child care, health care, education and housing, save for retirement, and more. These systemic inequalities meant Black women were more likely to live paycheck to paycheck before the pandemic and they are making the hours and jobs lost to this public health crisis all the more devastating.
“We needed lawmakers to stand up for Black lives and livelihoods long before the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, and we need it more than ever now. The data is in and the pandemic is having an outsized impact on women and moms, with women of color experiencing compounded harms due to structural racism. Further, women of color are overrepresented in essential work positions and also in fatalities from COVID-19, which increases the harm caused by the pandemic in communities of color.
"In the midst of this emergency, the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass another meaningful relief package is a total disgrace.
“We demand U.S. Senate Republicans stop blocking much-needed relief and immediately pass the HEROES Act, as well as the Paycheck Fairness Act, which the U.S. House passed nearly 17 months ago. Doing so would be a huge step toward protecting the health and economic security of working families and ending the unjust wage discrimination that plagues our workplaces and communities. We will continue to fight until Black women can live free from the structural racism and sexism that drive inequities, inside and outside the workplace.”
-Statement of Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO, MomsRising