PA Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Rally Calls for End to Wage Gap

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HARRISBURG, PA — Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus were joined Wednesday by women’s groups and advocates at a state Capitol rally to call for an end to the wage gap for Black women.

PLBC Chairwoman Donna Bullock said Black women make 58 cents on the dollar compared to their white male counterparts and that Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which is recognized every year, has moved to later in the year for 2022. The day coincides with the amount of time it takes Black women, working full time, year round, to ‘catch up’ to a white man’s salary from the previous year.

“We are just now reaching the same pay that white men made last year because the wage gap got wider,” Bullock said. “It took us longer to get to this point this year. We are a little over three months from the end of this year. We’re moving backward. That is unacceptable and its far from equal. Regardless of education, experience or even geographic location, Black women continue to lag behind on the pay scale.”

Bullock said the wage gap has widened significantly, as the difference in pay in 2021 was 63 cents on the dollar.

“Throughout the course of a 40-year career, Black women are behind nearly $1 million,” Bullock said. “That is simply unconscionable and we won’t stand for it.”

“In order to get by this institutional racism in every workplace, we need to stand up and say enough,” said state Rep. Darisha Parker, chair of the PLBC subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color. “Enough of not seeing our worth, enough of not paying us our worth, enough of passing us over for promotions, enough of watching us struggle to make ends meet for our families. Pay us our worth because we’re worth it.”

“We can tell you about the problems in the Black community, we can tell you about our suffrage, we can tell you about our pain, we can tell you about our trauma, but my question is, what are you going to do?” said Melissa Robbins, Philadelphia activist. “Black women – we’ve nourished the nation. Where is ours? Do I have to stand here and continuously fight then turn around and tell my daughter the same thing?”

“Black women face vast obstacles due to racism and sexism,” said Tina Brown, co-chair of Harrisburg chapter, National Coalition of 100 Black women, “and the research shows that most men and women of color still earn less than white men. Data shows that if the wage gap were eliminated, on average, a black woman working full time, year round would have enough money for approximately more than two-and-a-half years of child care, more than 16 additional months of premiums for employee based health insurance, 153 more weeks of food for her family, 15 additional months for mortgage and utility payments, 22 more months of rent and enough money to pay off student loan debt in just over one year.”

“The worth of the work of African American women is undervalued,” said state Sen. Art Haywood, D-Phila. “I heard the phrase before about ‘enough.’ I stand with these women, I stand with my wife, I stand with my sister, I stand with my daughters, I stand with my grandmother, enough.”

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