Racism and Sexism Combine to Shortchange Working Black Women

woman works at a distribution station in Staten Island, New York, February 2019. (Getty/Johannes Eisle/AFP)
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day honors the number of extra months that Black women who work full-time in the US are believed to need to put in to catch up to their white male counterparts. For instance, in 2017, white males received $1 for every $1 earned by black women, which amounted to $23,653 less in pay for the whole year. To reduce the pay gap for Black women, more understanding of the numerous factors driving it is required [1-3].
The gender wage gap—the difference in pay between men and women—is fuelled by a number of variables. Additionally, there is a racial wage gap that has resulted in enduring pay gaps between employees of color and white workers. This salary difference is a reflection of the interaction between the perceptions of race and gender [4, 5].
A better and more thorough understanding of Black women’s labor is necessary in order to achieve equitable pay for them. The person performing the task and the sort of labor are typically taken into account when determining how work is perceived. Many Black women still deal with the same misconceptions about their profession that were created decades ago at the confluence of racial and gender prejudices. Finding the areas of discrimination requires identifying the elements that influence how Black women’s labor is valued [6, 7].
Black women have historically had the greatest labor force participation rates of all women because they are expected to work. Black women’s labor in the past was associated, in part, with their less privileged position in compared to white women. This expectation has its roots in long-standing racial and gender inequalities that date back to the formation of the country [8, 9].
Black women frequently experience a workplace narrative that downplays the significance of their obligations to provide personal care. This story has historical origins in the time of slavery, when Black women were subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation. Today, among all moms, Black women with small children have the greatest rates of labor force participation. Women often put in less paid work hours than males, but they are more involved in household duties and child care. Unpaid domestic labour is typically disregarded but is becoming more significant to families [10, 11].
Over time, black women have entered increasingly diverse industries, but they have also encountered pervasive occupational segregation. Too often, white women’s experiences have predominated the public narrative about women instead of those of Black women. This restricted viewpoint supports a stereotype that limits Black women’s work options and creates barriers to their future professional achievement [12, 13].
This entails enhancing legal safeguards for Black women, educating them on pay practices, and encouraging greater accountability and transparency. The White House should adopt a number of actions to increase women’s and people of color’s access to paid family and medical leave, high-quality child care, caregiver stipends, and pay equality measures. Increasing enforcement budgets to guarantee adherence to equal pay rules and investigating the frequency of racial and gender prejudice in cases of pay discrimination are a few examples of these strategies [14-16].
Conclusion Black Women’s Equal Pay Day honors the number of extra months that Black women who work full-time in the US are believed to need to put in to catch up to their white male counterparts in terms of pay. In 2017, the salaries of black women were $23,653 less than those of white men, or 61 cents for every dollar earned. In order to improve women’s access to paid family and medical leave, high-quality child care, and caregiver stipends, the White House should take a number of measures.
[1] E. N. Glenn, “Social constructions of mothering: A thematic overview,” Mothering, pp. 1-29, 2016.
[2] M. B. Calás and L. Smircich, “1.8 From the ‘woman’s point of view’ten years later: Towards a feminist organization studies,” The Sage handbook of organization studies, pp. 284-346, 2006.
[3] M. Frederick, Between Sundays: Black women and everyday struggles of faith. Univ of California Press, 2003.
[4] F. D. Blau and L. M. Kahn, “Understanding international differences in the gender pay gap,” Journal of Labor economics, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 106-144, 2003.
[5] B. Gustafsson and S. Li, “Economic transformation and the gender earnings gap in urban China,” Journal of Population Economics, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 305-329, 2000.
[6] D. K. King, “Multiple jeopardy, multiple consciousness: The context of a Black feminist ideology,” Signs: Journal of women in culture and society, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 42-72, 1988.
[7] M. W. McCann, Rights at work: Pay equity reform and the politics of legal mobilization. University of Chicago Press, 1994.
[8] J. Mincer, “Labor force participation of married women: A study of labor supply,” in Aspects of labor economics: Princeton University Press, 1962, pp. 63-105.
[9] M. Toossi, “Labor force projections to 2022: The labor force participation rate continues to fall,” Monthly Lab. Rev., vol. 136, p. 1, 2013.
[10] C. L. Stacey, The caring self: The work experiences of home care aides. Cornell University Press, 2011.
[11] K. A. Griffin and R. J. Reddick, “Surveillance and sacrifice: Gender differences in the mentoring patterns of Black professors at predominantly White research universities,” American Educational Research Journal, vol. 48, no. 5, pp. 1032-1057, 2011.
[12] S. Cross and B. Bagilhole, “Girls’ jobs for the boys? Men, masculinity and non‐traditional occupations,” Gender, Work & Organization, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 204-226, 2002.
[13] J. F. Milem, “The educational benefits of diversity: Evidence from multiple sectors,” Compelling interest: Examining the evidence on racial dynamics in higher education, pp. 126-169, 2003.
[14]  A. M. Abdellatif, “Good governance and its relationship to democracy and economic development,” in Global Forum III on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity, Seoul, 2003, vol. 20, no. May, p. 31.
[15] E. Armstrong, “Integrity, transparency and accountability in public administration: Recent trends, regional and international developments and emerging issues,” United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, vol. 1, no. 10, 2005.
[16] S. Agere, Promoting good governance: Principles, practices and perspectives. Commonwealth Secretariat, 2000.

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