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Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Is Here & the Wage Gap Is a Huge Issue

Black women made up some ground in equal pay this past year, but they still lag significantly behind their white non-Hispanic male counterparts, according to the group Equal Pay Today.

Today, August 3, marks Black Women’s Equal Pay Day — the date the average Black woman working full-time in 2021 caught up to the pay of a white non-Hispanic man. This effectively means that it took 19 months of work for a Black woman to make what a white man made in 12 months. Last year, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day fell on August 13.

The wage gap improved only slightly to 63 cents, meaning that a Black woman earns 37 cents less than a white man earns per dollar. That compares with 62 cents last year for Black women.

For all women, their equal pay day was hit on March 24, seven days earlier than the prior year. All women, on average, earn 82 cents for every dollar a white man earns. Equal Pay Today uses the data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey on population and housing data to calculate the wage gap.

Latinas are suffering the most when it comes to pay, according to the group. They are scheduled to hit their equal pay day on September 8 and earn 60 cents for every dollar a white man earns.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this ongoing wage issue. According to the World Economic Forum, closing the global gender gap has increased to 135.6 years from 99.5 years. In its March 2021 Global Gender Gap report, the group said that the COVID-19 health crisis has taken a huge toll on gender equality.

The pandemic “raised new barriers to building inclusive and prosperous economies and societies,” wrote Saadia Zahidi, managing director and head of the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the New Economy and Society. “The hardest hit sectors by lockdowns and rapid digitalization are those where women are more frequently employed. Combined with the additional pressures of providing care in the home, the crisis has halted progress toward gender parity in several economies and industries.”

The report said that its Global Gender Gap index — which is based on benchmarks in 156 countries — shows that the average distance completed to parity is at 68%, a decrease of 0.6 percentage points from 2020 and driven by a worsened performance in large countries.

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