This post was written by Tia of Financially Fit & Fab.
It is sad that in 2018 we are still fighting the wage gap or the fact that women are paid significantly less than men. Equal Pay Day is celebrated in America on April 10th of each year. It represents how long a woman must work to make the same amount that a man made in the previous year.
However, the wage gap between white men and black women is significantly greater.
This year, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is celebrated on August 7th. This day highlights the unfortunate fact that a black woman must work eight months into 2018 to earn as much money as a white, non-Hispanic man did in 2017.
Why is that?
- Employment discrimination
- Gender and race bias
- Lack of pay transparency
- Inadequate access to capital
It is a myth that black women can educate themselves out of the pay gap. Black women have the country’s highest percentage of higher education degrees, yet we are still paid less than white men at every level of education. Over our lifetime that equals more than $1 million in lost wages.
So, what can we do to secure the bag in spite of the wage gap?
It is imperative that we negotiate our salaries. Research shows that men are four times as likely to negotiate their salaries as women.
Negotiating doesn’t stop at salaries though. Do you need more vacation days? The ability to work from home at least once a week? An improved retirement package? These benefits are all on the table when negotiating with new employers or renegotiating with your existing employer.
You’d be surprised at what they are willing to compromise when they don’t want to lose you.
We need to network. According to a survey by LinkedIn, between 70-80 percent of jobs are filled through networking. Some of these jobs don’t even hit the open market; or if they do, the hiring manager already knows who they want before receiving any applications.
Your network really is your net worth. A strong network can help you build visibility, connect with influencers, and open doors to new opportunities. Attend that networking event after work and talk to people that you don’t know. Go to that conference to connect with leaders in your field.
However, don’t stop there. When you snag those business cards, make sure to follow up with an email in the next week. Get involved with your alumni association. Update your LinkedIn profile and make meaningful connections.
Connections work both ways though. If you know of an opportunity, share it with others. We must pay it forward.
It is time to take matters into our own hands. The number of businesses opened by black women has grown rapidly over the last decade, making us the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the country. If we are in control, we can demand the pay that we deserve.
If you have a business idea but don’t know where to start, there are countless organizations dedicated to helping us start businesses. A few of them that connect women to resources and capital needed to get their business ideas off the ground include ACCION International, ChallengeHer, and Miller Lite Tap the Future.
So on Black Women’s Wage Day, let’s not only talk about the wage gap but also takes steps to close it.