Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Is a Reminder of the Tough Work Ahead

Many tech companies are aware of the growing wage gap for women of color and are working to improve it.

Written by Ashley Bowden
Published on Sep. 21, 2022
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Is a Reminder of the Tough Work Ahead
Image: Shutterstock

Each year, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day signifies the approximate day that a Black woman must work into the new year to earn the same pay that her non-Hispanic, white male counterpart earned the previous year.

The day fell on August 3 last year, but this year it arrived on September 21, highlighting a growing pay disparity that was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pay inequity cost Black women more than $20,000 this year, according to the National Women’s Law Center. On average, they were paid 58 percent of what white men were paid in 2020, according to U.S. Census Bureau data cited by the American Association of University Women

Related ReadingPay Equity for Black Women Is Top of Mind for These Tech Executives

“Pay disparities for women and people of color remain a persistent issue in our city and country, hampering economic opportunities. The inequities for Black women are particularly striking, with our making 58 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. These disparities are not just unfair, but also harmful to our economy and communities,” Adrienne Adams, speaker of the New York City Council, said in a statement. “On this Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, we express our continued commitment towards the goal of ending the gender and racial pay gap for good.”

Equal pay — and diversity and inclusion in general — has been top of mind for many tech startups that are working to address inequity through compensation software, diversity recruitment tools and career development platforms.

Related ReadingAddressing the Challenges Facing Black Women in Tech

Seattle-based Payscale, for example, helps companies pay their employees fairly by pulling in real-time salary data that shows how much they should be paying for specific roles.

Another Seattle startup, Included, looks at company’s hiring initiatives and provides guidance about diversifying a company’s workforce.

D.C.-based Tribaja provides people of color with training, mentorship and networking to connect them with equitable companies.

Austin-based Ceresa has developed a platform that provides training and mentorship to women and people of color with the hope of boosting their ranks in management.

Fundr CEO Lauren Washington, meanwhile, is trying to level the playing field in the venture capital world, where less than 1 percent of funds go to Black women. Before starting Fundr, Washington joined Esosa Ighodaro and Regina Gwynn in co-founding Black Women Talk Tech, which provides Black women entrepreneurs with educational tools, networking opportunities and other resources.

Additionally, many companies are continually advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives to create a more fair and equitable workplace. 

Pay transparency is another growing tech trend, and it’s becoming a legal requirement in states like Washington, California and Maryland. Employers are also considering new ways to protect their teams against burnout and prevent detrimental overworking habits. 

These kinds of investments and initiatives are likely to continue as tech employers seek more ways to make their companies more inclusive and equitable workplaces.

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