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This Equal Pay Day, the wage gap widens for Black women

WASHINGTON —  Equal Pay Day marks the date that women must work into the next year to be paid what men were paid in the previous year. While Equal Pay Day comes more than a week earlier than last year, suggesting that women might be making gains, the wage gap actually has widened for women of color.

Black women, in particular, now lag even further behind white men. On average, Black women will need to work until September 21 to catch up to white men. Last year, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day was more than a month earlier (August 3, 2021).

“The wage gap proves that Black women have been disparately impacted by the pandemic and inflation,” said In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell. “Black women workers shouldered the burden of the pandemic; Black women were more likely to be essential workers, risking their lives while many others worked from the safety of their homes, yet Black women’s wages suffered too.”

One year into the pandemic, 47% of Black women had to report to work despite having a good reason to stay home (i.e. sickness or no child care) and 51% had trouble paying for essentials like food, housing and child care. It has been widely reported that, despite reports of the economy’s recovery as COVID restrictions lift, Black women are still playing catch up with significantly higher unemployment rates.

“The bottom line is that Black women continued to be pushed toward the bottom in the workplace,” said Howell. “That’s why it is imperative that members of Congress pass the ‘Build Back Better Act.’”

President Biden’s “Build Back Better Act” includes measures that would help all working families and would be especially important for Black families. The legislation would increase access to affordable housing, lower childcare costs, reduce health care costs and promote food security for children.

“There’s nothing equal about Equal Pay Day,” said Howell. “It’s past time for Congress to take action to level the playing field for Black women at work.”


In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national Reproductive Justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women leaders at the national, regional, and state levels in our ongoing fight to secure Reproductive Justice for Black women, femmes, queer, trans and gender non-conforming people and youth. Our strategic partners include Black Women for Wellness, Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterLove, Inc., SisterReach, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, The Afiya Center and Women With A Vision.

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