What People Around The U.S. Say About Black Women's Equal Pay Day

Photographed by Rachel Cabitt.
Not all Equal Pay Days are created equally. Today, for Black Women's Equal Pay Day, organizations, celebrities, and workers around the country are sharing information and stories about the pay gap as experienced by Black women in the United States.
True to form, a lot of "Get a better education!", "Get a different job!", "Stop being divisive!" abounds. However, as many people refuse to be silent and are instead helping to dispel myths about why the pay gap continues to exist by race and gender, the truth will out.
For example, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) smacked down three mistruths about why Black women fall behind. First, Black women aren't lazy and don't need to just work more — they already do.
"Married black women with children worked over 200 hours more per year than married white or Hispanic women with children, and 339 hours more than black single mothers," write Valerie Wilson, Janelle Jones, Kayla Blado, and Elise Gould at EPI.
Black women don't need to just get more education either, since that's not an automatic problem solver. (And, again, they already are.)
"Two-thirds of black women in the workforce have some postsecondary education, 29.4 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher," EPI's researchers explain. "Black women are paid less than white men at every level of education."
Finally, the gender-racial pay gap won't be solved by Black women picking different careers.
"In all occupations—both female-dominated and male-dominated—black women earn less than white men," EPI's researchers show. "While white male physicians and surgeons earn, on average, $18 per hour more than black women doing the same job, the gap for retail salespersons is also shocking, at more than $9 an hour." (Even women working in the adult film industry see unfair disparities.)
In other words:
That's what the research shows. Here's what the rest of the world had to say about Black Women's Equal Pay Day.
Tennis champion Serena Williams tweeted about the day.
Williams also wrote an op-ed for Fortune about the gender pay gap by race, explaining how she hopes to work toward equal compensation for all women in her recent appointment as a member of the board of directors at SurveyMonkey.
"I am in the rare position to be financially successful beyond my imagination. I had talent, I worked like crazy and I was lucky enough to break through. But today isn’t about me," Williams writes. "It’s about the other 24 million black women in America. If I never picked up a tennis racket, I would be one of them; that is never lost on me." (Nor is that combination of fortune and success isn't lost on her sister Venus Williams, who has fought for years to attain equal pay in tennis.)
Other celebs joined in.
Of course, several politicians and advocacy groups had something to say, too.
Individual women, including Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs, one of the organizers of the Women's March, shared their stories, as well.
Here's to fighting for better — and more.
Read Refinery29's coverage of Black Women's Equal Pay Day: An op-ed by Valerie Jarrett, and stories from 3 Black women on how they learned they were underpaid.

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