September 21 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, marking the approximate date into the new year that a Black woman must work in order to earn as much as a white, non-Hispanic male counterpart.
According to recent census data, Black women earn on average 67 cents on every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic male counterparts for full-time work, and 64 cents on every dollar for part-time work. At this rate, a Black woman would have to work an additional 263 days into the new year – through September 21 – in order to earn what a white, non-Hispanic male counterpart earns in 365 days of work.
The pandemic has widened the wage gap according to recent data. An analysis by the National Women’s Law Center found that Black women are experiencing higher rates of unemployment than white men (5.9% compared to 3.1%). One in five over the age of 16 have spent over six months searching for employment, and one in six are working part-time involuntarily.
Additionally, an analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau in July found that Black, non-Hispanic women were more likely than white, non-Hispanic men to have lost income during the pandemic.
The observance of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day has brought renewed calls to end the wage gap.
“We cannot continue to put lives at stake. It’s time to end this cycle of discrimination and demand equal pay for Black women,” said National NOW President Christian F. Nunes in a statement posted on the organization’s social media platforms. “If Black women were paid accordingly in a given year, they could afford 2.5 years of childcare, 174 weeks of meals, and 22 months of housing for themselves and their families.”
“It’s past time we guarantee equal pay for equal work,” wrote Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) on Twitter.