Sixty-six: the number of years it would take a black woman to catch up to 40 years of her white male peers in wages. At 63 cents to the dollar, the hashtag #BlackWomensEqualPay is waking people up to an even darker side to the wage gap. Sure, all women experience the consequences of the glass ceiling, but we all too often in the conversation we fail to talk about how white privilege impacts that experience. While today marks a day of speaking out about the racial lines that black women must cross to make the same wages, the conversation should continue.
As one of the most educated groups in America and fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, black women still trail behind when it comes to getting what they're owed. But simply demanding more isn't just the answer to a history of devaluing the work of black women. It also means raising awareness and challenging brands and companies to help close that gap, revisiting problematic ways we think about work, and collectively applying pressure when needed. Stars like Tracee Ellis Ross and Serena Williams wore "Phenomenal Woman" t-shirts and tweeted about why the hashtag is helping black women take a stand.
So as we celebrate Black Women's Equal Pay Day, these inspiring tweets should be RT'd and revisited as black women make their voices heard:
1. The hashtag also means asking the tough questions.
We must address the disproportionate number of Black women who are stuck in low-paying jobs. #BlackWomensEqualPay— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) July 31, 2017
And challenging businesses to ask themselves the same.
2. Being real about women's rights means acknowledging ALL women.
When people reference the "women make 77 cents on the dollar" stat, that only includes white women. #BlackWomensEqualPay— Charlin Caster (@CharlinCas) July 31, 2017
3. Breaking down the math isn't divisive.
It's eye opening.
4. Well paid black women shouldn't only exist on-screen.
5. Let's stop asking what color has got to do with it.
Instead, acknowledge that privilege grants some of us more than others.
6. Because the effect on the community is greater than you realize.
7. For black women, the wage gap is two fold.
Race and gender cannot be discussed separately. Black women experience both.
8. When we begin to unpack the experiences of Black women, we open more doors for other WOC.
9. Economic equality is #BlackWomensEqualPay.
If the wage gap were eliminated, a Black woman would earn enough money for nearly 2.5 more years of child care. #BlackWomensEqualPay— ESSENCE (@Essence) July 31, 2017
10. Acknowledging privilege isn't about blame.
If I can earn in a year what a black woman colleague earns in 19 MONTHS for the SAME WORK, something is clearly wrong.#BlackWomensEqualPay— Charles Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) July 31, 2017
11. The issue is bigger than just working hard.
Equality means paying women the market rate for the value they add in work to their employer. #BlackWomensEqualPay— Jacqueline V Twillie (@JVTWILLIE) July 31, 2017
If that were the issue, it wouldn't take black women so long to earn the same statistically.
In order to bring the change needed, advocating for black women shouldn't just happen once a year. Thanks to social media, you can elevate the voices who want to speak up, particularly on days like today. If we can talk about #Yesallwomen, it's time we finally start to acknowledge how different those experiences can can be, and the disadvantage some women have versus others.