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Black Women Equal Pay Day: Closing the gap for the next generation

Posted at 1:16 AM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 01:16:40-04

INDIANAPOLIS — August 3 is Black Women's Equal Pay Day. Historically, Black and African Americans have always had a significant pay gap in this country. But when it comes to Black women, their average wages are far behind both White men and women.

So, what is the significance of equal pay day and how do we change the trend?

"It's something that we need," Kenyata Moore, a financial advisor said. "In the world, I just feel like we're not represented in every market and we're not getting what we deserve."

It's a battle that is still being fought to make sure that Black women get what they deserve.

"It is insulting, and it also enrages you and to some, it makes you feel devalued," Tamara Rogers, an attorney emphasized.

Rogers is the owner of Rogers Law Firm and has been a practicing attorney for 17 years. She said she has witnessed the gender pay gap from both sides; being a woman and a woman of color.

"To the world, it appears as if almost half of the graduating class of law schools are women. However, when they start working, when they start getting their initial salaries, they don't know that they're getting less than the other male lawyers," Rogers explained.

According to the American Association of University Women, it takes the typical Black woman 19 months to be paid what the average White man takes home in 12 months. Statistically, this means Black women have to work an additional seven months to earn the same pay.

"Because that pay gap is there it affects things like our wealth, actual building of the wealth, our distribution of the wealth and our legacy planning," Moore said.

Since 1988, women of Asian descent's earnings ratio changed from 69% to 87%, an 18% difference, according to the American Association of University Women. The gap is projected to close in about 22 years, or 2041.

For White women, their earnings ratio saw a 15% difference changing from 64% to 79% with projecting the gap to close in about 50 years, or 2069.

But when it comes to Black women, their earnings ratio didn't see much of a change. From 59% to 63%, a 4% difference. At the current rate, the gap will not close for another 350 years, in 2369.

Regarding Latina women, they fall further behind. The gap is not projected to close for them for another 432 years in 2451.

"Don't leave yourself in the dark," Moore said. "Know what other people who are doing what you're doing are getting paid."

Moore explained that until this pay gap is closed, it will continue to be problematic for many years to come.

“I don't want you to get your foot in the door. Kick down the door," Moore said.

Moore said that in doing so, be your own advocate. Speak up for yourself. Be aggressive with your salary. Look up your competitors salaries and ask for what they're getting, if not more. Also, do your research because your salary determines what life will look like for years to come.

“There are not too many of us walking around in certain fields. So, be strong enough to know that hey, I'm one of the few and I am good at my job, and I deserve what I'm going to ask for," Moore said. "And you're going to give it to me because this is what I need, and this is what I deserve to have."

“I choose to take the alternate route and say, hey, this is the reality right now, but I'm going to work really hard to change that for myself and for the next generations after me," Rogers added.

Moore and Rogers explained that negative stigmas surrounding Black women, such as being angry and aggressive, make many hesitant to fight for a better salary.

Rogers said she mentors the younger generation in hopes to set them up for a better future.

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