September 21 marks Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the date Black women have to work in 2022 to earn what their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts earned in 2021.
Last year, the day fell on August 3, meaning Black women this year have had to work more than six extra weeks into the year to try to make up for lost wages.
Full-time working women of all races in the US are paid 83 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the AAUW. Equal Pay Day fell on March 15, the day women have to work until 2022 to earn the same as their male counterparts last year.
“Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay,” the National Committee for Pay Equity said in a statement on Equal Pay Day. “The pay gap is even greater for most women of color.”
According to data from the National Women’s Law Center, a black woman starting work at age 20 would have to work until she was nearly 80 to earn what a non-Hispanic white man earns at age 60.
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day comes this year as Black women are still trying to recover from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, a time during which they lost jobs at a higher rate than other groups in the country. .
Unemployment rates fell or stayed the same for nearly every race/ethnicity except black women, with the unemployment rate nearly double that of white Americans. according to the National Women’s Law Center. In August, while many groups joined the workforce, 45,000 Black women left.
Just over a decade after starting college, black women, on average, owe 13% more than they borrowed, while white men, on average, have paid off 44% of their debt. according to The Education Trust.
One reason black women owe so much more in the years after they graduate from college is the gender pay gap, experts say.
Gloria Blackwell, executive director of the American Association of University Women, said that because black women earn less, many are saddled with student debt for most of their careers. She described what black women face in the workplace as the “perfect storm” of a racial wealth gap and a gender pay gap.
“When you’re a black woman and you have this student loan burden, it affects every aspect of your life,” Blackwell told ABC News last month. “It impacts whether you can afford basic living expenses, whether you can afford transportation or even rent to have a decent place to live, let alone save for a house or be able to start a family or take care of your family. It’s a burden on Black women know if they can save for retirement, pay rent or move to a better neighborhood.
“Black women are ambitious: They are more likely to say they want to become top executives than white men (35%) and white women (26%),” the report said. “But even in the same job, black women are paid less than white men.”
Experts like Blackwell and Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Women’s Policy Research Institute, say the solution to closing the gender pay gap for black women must come from both the government and the private sector.
At the federal level, Mason said the passage of legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act can help promote pay equity and transparency, while enforcement of existing civil rights and equal employment laws can help reduce discrimination in the workplace.
“Employers have a role to play in terms of ensuring that there is pay equity and making sure that women across the board are earning what they are worth and the skills and talents that they bring to the table,” Mason previously told ABC News. “And as a culture and a society, we have a lot of work to do in terms of breaking down gender stereotypes about women in the workplace, their value, and how much women should be paid for their work.”