What Needs To Happen To Narrow The 37% Pay Gap Between Black And White Women?

Black Enterprise has started one of their latest articles with a startling revelation—a huge 37% pay gap between Black and white women in the workplace.

By Ryan Velez

In fact, the statistics paint an even more disturbing picture. While the statistic you normally see is that women in the United States earn just 79 cents for every dollar men make. However, for Black women, this is only 63 cents to said dollar. Black Enterprise recently interviewed Jasmine Gill of Gyal’s Network, an online platform that connects diverse women and confronts intersectional issues, which impacts them on a larger scale.

Gill revealed that a Black woman starting her career today is likely to lose an average of $877,480 over her 40-year career, relative to a white man. While the factors behind the gender gap are wide, varied, and entrenched, Gill shared some strategies that can be implemented now to try and drive change. The first regards workplace transparency. The 1963 Equal Pay Act has stated that men and women doing the same work have to be paid equally, but unfortunately, salary transparency is not required. As a result, in order to hold their employers to this standard, women have to take action.

The Obama Administration has tried to support the Act by instituting some new equal-pay rules. Starting in 2017, companies with more than 100 employees will need to report their employees’ compensation—broken down by race, ethnicity, and gender—to the federal government. Supporting legislation like this is essential to empower the rules already in place to stop the gender gap.

The second side of the story includes helping women negotiate better salaries. A recent study of graduating MBA students found that half of the men negotiated their job offers as compared to only one-eighth of the women. Some cities like Boston are encouraging more women to negotiate with free workshops for women living within a certain jurisdiction. Another step that could help women is a possible salary history ban. Massachusetts has already started the trend, banning employers from asking about job applicants’ salary histories until they make a job offer. It is believed that this is a major contributor to the gender gap, by negatively affecting women who earn less than men at the start of their careers.

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