The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was originally put in place to prohibit discrimination of wages based on gender. This continues to be amended over the years to reflect the current times and now includes race & sexual orientation as a variable in creating equality for all in the workforce. Laws can be made, but it is our actions in how we navigate the circumstances in the real world that frames how these laws are enforced. Even with these laws in place, the change that was intended to close the pay gap still falls short. To be fully inclusive, we need to address the deeply rooted issue that lies in our culture surrounding a racial and gender wage gap that continues to persist in our society.
While companies boast “equal opportunity for all”, equal paychecks have yet to be seen. Black employees earn substantially less than their white counterparts. Race & gender should not determine one’s worth, rather one’s qualifications, experience, and skill set. There are strategies that we can practice to empower each other and eliminate these disparities once and for all.
2021 Equal Pay Day Sheds Light on Racial Pay Gap
In 2021 the US celebrated Equal Pay Day on March 24, a symbolic day that represents the number of extra days women, on average, must work to earn what men, on average, earned the year before. The day will be celebrated on March 15, 2022, closing the gap slightly in a year’s time. For mothers and many women of color, this date falls much later in the year.
While systemic changes need to come from within the organization on the leadership level, true change starts from the bottom up and to finally close the pay gap, it is up to the individual to advocate for themselves and negotiate a salary and benefits package that is aligned with their education and experience. Salary negotiations are not typically a skill taught in school, leaving most job seekers in the dark on how to maximize their value and get paid worth when negotiating salaries. Without the education and empowerment on the local level, it is estimated that it will take a staggering 350 years for the wage gap to be closed for black women in the US.
Change starts on the local level with community outreach & advocacy programs that educate & empower individuals to affirm their value & worth. Give your community the tools they need to succeed with Elevate’s new professional development program, “Smart Salary Negotiations”. This customizable workshop is designed to teach participants the skills they need to succeed in negotiating a fair salary regardless of where they are in their careers! With community programs that empower individuals to advocate for themselves, it is our goal to finally reach the vision of equal opportunity for all and close the gender and racial pay gap in our nation for good.