Monday we acknowledged Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which represents how many months longer a black woman–on average– must work to receive as much as her white male counterpart made the previous year.
Black women last year only made 60 cents to every dollar. In 2017, black women now earn 63 cents, while the average women in America make about 80 cents to every dollar, putting black women at a major disadvantage. Even though Black women gained three more cents, there still is a 37 cent deficit. It is said that African American women are not projected to see equal pay until the year 2124, which means it may take 108 years for equality.
Senator Kamala Harris has been known for her advocacy for black women and other minority communities. In April, Harris co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill initiated to force employers to show an adequate reason behind pay differences for their employees to make sure there isn’t a gender and/or race bias. This bill would subsequently put a watchful eye on employers and keep them from punishing any employee who might be penalized for seeking equal pay.
Another point Harris makes is that the wage gap can be fixed by preparing black women for better jobs. Harris makes a striking point that,
“It’s time to pass laws that incentivize companies and schools to increase opportunities for technical training and mentoring in the STEM field. And, it’s time to get creative.”
Harris also notes that many black women are working in minimum wage jobs which make it difficult for them to make ends meet; in which she plans to restructure that system as well.
Harris also states that the wage gap can start to close if we simply raise the minimum wage, which other political officials like Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama have been known to advocate for.
“We need to raise the federal minimum wage. If we raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, 4 million black women would see their incomes rise,” Harris cites in her piece on Bustle Media.
Harris believes that black women must fight harder than ever and not let a wage gap stop their goals from being met.