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#BlackWomensEqualPayDay: TikTok shows why gender pay gap isn’t the same for women of color

Emerald Pellot

August 13 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. The gender wage gap is real and within that even more racial disparities exist. 

Annually, unequal pay costs Black women, on average, $23,653 in earned wages. Over the span of a 40-year career, this would total an whopping $946,120 in losses, according to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). But while the focus of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is on Black women, women in color generally fare worse than white men and white women as well. 

As always, an easy way to break down a complex idea is with a TikTok. Katnaps5, an intersectional feminist, who uses her platform to distill social justice issues, explains it simply. Using data from NWLC, she shows how women from different racial demographics stack up against white men.

In the video, Katnaps5 writes on a whiteboard to illustrate her ideas. There’s a dollar bill that represents the male earnings and coinage that symbolizes each group of women. 

“For every $1 a white man makes, a white woman earns $0.77,” she writes. 

Then she swaps out the groups and the coins to show a Black woman earns $0.61, a Native American woman earns $0.51, a Latina earns $0.53 and an Asian woman earns $0.85. 

No matter how you dice it, the information is disheartening. It exposes how racial and gender hierarchies are ingrained in American culture. 

“We owe Black women so much more. Especially right now in the middle of this pandemic, the wage gap has robbed them of their ability to weather this storm,” Jasmine Tucker, director of research for NWLC, told USA Today. “They don’t have the financial cushion, they don’t have any savings because we haven’t been paying them what we owe them.” 

If you liked this article, read a Harvard professor’s take on the harmful effects of white-washing American history.

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