Here in the U.S., we still have a long way to go in the fight against the pay gap, and that's what Equal Pay Day — on April 10 — is all about. But while Equal Pay Day focuses on an average for all women, Black Women's Equal Pay Day will highlight the significant pay gap between black women and white men.
According to the Equal Pay Today website, women in the U.S. still only make 80 cents to every dollar men make. Equal Pay Day falls on April 10 this year to signify how long it takes a woman to make the same amount of money a man makes for the year prior. For example, if a man made a certain amount of money in 2017, it would have taken a woman all of 2017 and more than three months of 2018 to make the same amount of money — meaning, it would take her until April 2018 to make the same money he made in 2017 alone.
The concept behind Black Women's Pay Day is the same, which is why it is much later in the year — on Aug. 7. While Asian American women make 87 cents for every dollar a white man makes and white women make 79 cents, black women only make 63 cents. This means that a black woman would have to work more than 200 additional days to make the same amount of money a white man makes in a year.
Black Women's Equal Pay Day attempts to highlight the importance of intersectionality in discussions of the gender pay gap. The pay gap is something that virtually all women in the U.S. must confront, but they are also impacted differently across lines of race. According to an Economic Policy Institute report from last year, there aren't many black women among the top 5 percent of earners in the U.S.
Moreover, the report indicates that though the gender pay gap has narrowed in the past few decades, the race pay gap has gotten worse. The Economic Policy Institute wrote that in 1979, black women and white women were making roughly the same amount of money as one another, even though they were making much less than white men. But by 2016, white women were making 76 cents for every dollar a man made, compared to just 67 cents for black women.
This is precisely why the existence of a Black Women's Equal Pay Day is necessary. The gender pay gap disproportionately impacts black, Native American, and Latina women, and this disproportionate impact cannot be sufficiently highlighted by this month's Equal Pay Day alone. Native American Women's Equal Pay Day will fall on Sept. 27, to reflect the fact that they make 57 cents for every dollar a white man makes, while Latina women — who make just 54 cents — won't have their Equal Pay Day until Nov. 1.
Last year, Black Women's Equal Pay Day fell on July 31, and the Equal Pay Today campaign hosted several events to draw attention to the occasion. The campaign launched a #BlackWomensEqualPay Twitter storm to raise awareness for how race affects the gender pay gap, and held multiple live events via social media.
Equal Pay Today's website has not yet been updated to reflect this year's schedule for Black Women's Equal Pay Day, but the website does currently feature a calendar of all of this year's Equal Pay Days.