The National Urban League recently hosted the New York State Council on Women and Girls for a panel discussion on Black Women’s Pay Equity Day, featuring a distinguished group of women leaders led by Essence President Michelle Ebanks.
The civil rights icon Hazel N. Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference and member of the NAACP National Board of Directors, told of her years as a single mother working two jobs to make ends meet.
“It’s not easy to be a black woman,” she said. “But being an only child and being a daddy’s girl, I was born to be a hell-raiser.”
Tuesday, August 7 was Black Women’s Pay Day – the day that represents how long women have to work in 2017 and 2018 to catch up to what white men made in 2017 alone. On average, black women have had to work more than 19 months to make what white men made in 12. And this year, Black Women’s Pay Day was even later than it was last year – July 31.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, despite the myth that education would narrow the wage gap, black women make less than men at every level of education, even when working the same jobs as men.
While black women with a high school education or less made 57.5 cents for every dollar made by a man of similar education in 2016, the pay gap among those with advanced degrees was only about two cents less – 59.6 cents on the dollar.
In response to the pay gap, Essence has launched the social media hashtag #AskYourWorth, urging women to demand equal pay.