Today is Black Women Equal Pay Day—an annual reminder of the atrocious wage gap that still exists in the U.S. The date, Aug. 7, was selected because it marks how long a black woman had to work in 2018 to make the same amount of money a white made made in 2017.
You read right: On average, a black woman must work about 20 months to accumulate the kind of income a white man makes within only 12 months; that’s four months longer than it takes a white woman to achieve pay equity with a white man.
According to data provided by LeanIn.org, black women are paid about 38 percent less than white men and about 21 percent less than white women. That’s almost $870,000 in lost wages over the course of an average career.
In an effort to combat this inequality, many prominent figures within entertainment and media have began using the hashtag #BlackWomenEqualPayDay. Their goal is to highlight the sexism and racial biases plaguing the workforce, while also advocating for inclusive hiring practices.
Celebrities like Gabrielle Union, Tracee Ellis Ross, Shonda Rhimes, and Kerry Washington have used the hashtag on their official social media accounts. Men like Common and activist DeRay Mckesson also showed their support.
“In order for a black woman to make the same wage that a white male made last year, she would have to work all of last year AND this year up to today,” Ross tweeted. “Simply unacceptable. It’s time we #demandmore because pay equity helps everyone.”
“I think I like “Where’s Our 38%?” much better,” wrote Danielle Brooks, star of Orange Is the New Black. “This isn’t only about what I deserve but what so many hard working black women of all walks of life deserve.”
You can check out some of the tweets in support of Black Women Equal Pay Day below. The Latina Equal Pay Day will go down Nov. 1, marking the 11 extra months Latinas must work to earn the same amount of money white men earned last year alone.
#BlackWomensEqualPayDay Black Women are still being paid less then their white male and female counterparts. Making it harder to purchase a home, pay back college loans, and to retire comfortably. It has lifelong consequences. #Stop— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) August 7, 2018
In a recent conversation with an expert on the wealth gap, I learned that the median wealth for single black mothers is $0. There is nothing about that that is right, just, or equitable. #BlackWomensEqualPayDay— deray (@deray) August 7, 2018