Monday was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, a day designed to bring awareness to the economic gap Black women face in the work world. Black women who work full time, year round, earn 63 cents to every dollar earned by a white man according to data from the National Women’s Law Center.
Locally, state Reps. Donna Bullock (D-195), Morgan Cephas (D-192), and Chris Rabb (D-200) participated in and showed support for a social media campaign dedicated to unmasking the economic inequality Black women face in the workplace.
“It’s important that we have conversations at the intersection of race and gender,” Bullock said in a release. “Although we recognize Equal Pay Day on April 4, we still need to acknowledge that on average, African-American women are paid less than their white counterparts.”
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day takes place annually on July 31 to represent the extra seven months a Black woman must work to make the same amount as a white male, a total of 19 months for every 12 months worked by a white male peer. Equal Pay Day, which brings awareness to the about 80 cents white women earn for every dollar earned by a white man.
As part of a social media campaign, Bullock took to Twitter at 2 p.m. to voice her concerns with the likes of Serena Williams, Senator Kamala Harris and actress Tracee Ellis Ross.
“In PA,” Bullock wrote, “it would take 107 years for Black women to get equal pay. We shouldn’t have to wait until 2124 to be paid fair. #BlackWomensEqualPay.”
Bullock, who held a discussion on pay inequality last year, said she thought the legislature would prioritize the issue.
“However, I am beyond disappointed that not much progress has occurred since then,” Bullock said in a statement.
Bullock is a cosponsor on House Bill 931, a bill amending current wage discrimination legislation to add more penalties for violating the law and to establish an Equal Pay Commission. In her release, Bullock said Pa. received a D+ rank from the Center for American Progress regarding economic security in a report that specifically referenced the disparity women of color face in the state.
Bullock was joined by other members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus including Rabb and Cephas, who issued a statement against the effects of wage discrimination ahead of the 2 p.m. Twitter storm.
“Today we recognize Black women, who must work nearly eight months extra to earn the same amount men do in one year,” Cephas said. “With countless women of color being the primary breadwinner in their homes, the wellbeing of their children depends on them being paid what they deserve. Female heads of households already make several thousand dollars less than the overall median income in the City of Philadelphia simply because they are providing for their family by themselves. This means wage discrimination pushes them either further behind.”
In Pennsylvania, the average salary for a man in 2015 was about $64,305 while the average salary for a woman is about $47,579 according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau. In almost every age bracket, women were more likely to be living in poverty in Philadelphia than men, with the greatest disparity occurring between ages 25-34, in which women account for a 10 percent share of poverty while men account for just 6 percent.
Likewise, in Philadelphia 44 percent of Black residents are living in poverty, the highest of any ethnicity group, compared to 24 percent of white residents.
In a statement Rabb stood with his female colleagues and also spoke out against the pay disparities Black women face.
“We can no longer overlook the systemic barriers that cause this inequality based on gender and race, hurdles that inhibit Black women from thriving and achieving economic security,” Rabb said.