This past Tuesday, August 3, 2021, was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.
Why August 3?
Because on average, Black women must work an additional 214 days to catch up to what white, non-Hispanic men made in 2020 alone.
In other words, the average Black woman in the U.S. would have to work more than 19 months to earn what a white man does in 12.
I’ve cited this stat before and I’ll cite it again: Black women are typically paid only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white men, across all industries.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, this adds up to a loss of $2,009 each month, $24,110 each year, and $964,400 over the course of a 40-year career.
And the gap isn’t only between Black women and white men.
Over the course of a lifetime working full time, there is a $409,040 gap between what a Black woman and a white woman will make. That’s enough to buy a white woman and her family nearly two pandemic-priced homes.
What Black women lose out on, compared to white men and white women, is life-changing money.
If these statistical trends continue, it will take Black women more than another hundred years — until 2133 — to reach pay equity with white men.
But here’s the thing.
Waiting another 100 years is not an option.
As a business owner who’s committed to Black women’s equal pay, there are steps you can take right now to work towards pay equity.
If you’re an ally in business and you genuinely want to help out, here are a few things you can do.
1. Hire Black women and pay them well.
Pay for our expertise. Pay for the tremendous value we bring to the table. Dedicate (at least) 30% of your budget to Black-owned businesses.
You’re buying gifts for your clients, or shipping boxes to customers? Purchase from Black vendors.
Pay us. Period.
For example: White women, please know that Black women don’t need your Instagram posts about solidarity, but we would definitely love for you to purchase our products and services. Send dollars, not DMs.
2. Unlock opportunities for Black women.
Refer our services to your entire network.
Nominate your Black colleague for an award. Introduce her to a talent booker, so she can get a lucrative speaking gig. Pass her info along to a journalist, so she can get some well-deserved press.
Use your privileged position to open doors that have been unfairly closed.
3. Run salary audits for your company.
All companies and organizations should conduct annual or quarterly pay audit reports, which can be used to assess any differences in pay related to gender and race.
If you want to recruit and retain women of color, then you have to analyze your data and make sure you’re not committing wage theft.
And if you’re a Black woman, get more demanding.
Negotiate for more.
Double (yes, I said double) your prices.
Set boundaries with clients and uphold them.
Stop settling for poor treatment, piddly earnings, and unacceptable behavior at work and at home.
For example, I sent out an email to my whole audience the other day, to let folks know that I’m available for speaking opportunities in the fall and early next year.
And in that very message, I’ll also let folks know that I will NOT be speaking for free or for minimal compensation.
My labor is not free, and it’s not cheap either. I have a wage gap to close.
Demanding more doesn’t always have to be monetary, though.
For instance, if you notice a conference has booked a panel of 20 expert speakers and zero are Black women, send them an email (or post a message) and call them out.
We’re at a unique moment in history where many companies are actually listening and willing to change. Let your voice be heard.
Also, go read my book, and learn how to start making a truckload more money.
(The e-book version is on sale today and tomorrow for just 2.99 on Amazon. You’re welcome!)
Don’t get me wrong — the burden to close the wage gap is on the white folks who created it.
BUT, earning more money and taking control of our own wealth creation is possible for us, and, I’d argue, necessary to make the change we want to see in our society.
Let’s change these numbers and create financial equity and justice.
We can start closing this gap, one Black woman at a time.
First one. Then another. Then thousands.
And, one day, all those annual reports and numbers will start looking very different.
Now, to prove this point, I finally have some stats that will make you smile.
A couple weeks ago, we ran a 10K in 10 Days Challenge in We Should All Be Millionaires: The Club.
And over the course of 10 Days, our Club members earned 3.7 million dollars.
3. Point. 7. MILLION.
Straight into the pockets of our members, most of whom are women of color or members of other marginalized communities.
Our Club members are Black folks, queer folks, folks with disabilities. They are people from all backgrounds and all walks of life.
And they proved that — together — we can literally move economies when we put our minds to it.
The potential of Black women entrepreneurs to spur economic growth has not been fully realized.
But this stat gives me hope: Right now, Black women entrepreneurs are launching businesses at higher rates than white men and white women.
In the U.S. alone, 17% of Black women are in the process of starting or running new businesses, compared to just 10% of white women and 15% of white men.
Imagine what the world would look like if thousands of us were hiring, donating, giving back, and creating products that support other Black women and their families.
Next year, hopefully, I’ll be writing to you about Black Women’s Equal Pay Day well before August.
In the meantime, join this movement by making more money.
Help us close the wage gap across gender and race, so we can build a world we want to live in.
A world that’s kinder to our daughters than it has been to us.
PS. Did you catch that about my ebook being on sale? Buy We Should All Be Millionaires: A Woman’s Guide to Earning More, Building Wealth, and Gaining Economic Power on Amazon for $2.99, today and tomorrow only (August 8-9). So go get it. Read it. And claim your birthright.
PPS. An important note about language and statistics: We often use the terms “men” and “women” when we share financial data. This is because, unfortunately, there isn’t much data available on people who don’t fall into those gender categories…yet. As new, more inclusive data gets released, we look forward to bringing it to you. Folks who identify as non-binary, non-gendered, pangender, genderfluid, third-gender, two-spirit, or whatever identity is true for you, please know that you are welcome and beloved in this community.