This year, Equal Pay Day falls on March 31. It symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.
Equal Pay Day falls in the shadow of an unprecedented moment in time. As we face a global pandemic, our priority is to protect our health, our loved ones and those in our communities. Simultaneously, we are facing monumental career changes with continued closures, wage cuts, furloughs and layoffs, as employers attempt to address the ramifications of COVID-19.
An economic crisis is likely to devastate those who can least afford it, underpaid women of color.
Women in the U.S. who work full time, year-round are typically paid only 81.6 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. For women of color, the pay gap is even larger. As a result, there are standalone equal pay days throughout the year to represent how much longer minority women must work to earn the same amount as white men.
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, during the Great Recession black and Latina women had the largest increases in unemployment. The last recession depleted the accumulated wealth of U.S. households across the board, but it hit black and Latino households the hardest.
It has already been projected that it will take generations to achieve pay equity. Right now, we’re operating in survival mode as we do our best to stay healthy, take care of loved ones and hold onto our jobs.
On Equal Pay Day, I’ll be attending Speak Truth’s Virtual Speak and Share. The online event was conceived to create and build community during these uncertain times. Speak Truth sets out to give voice and visibility to the state of women of color in all facets of society. The event is free and inclusive. All are welcome and you can register here. I hope you can join me.