Press Release
To Close Black Women’s Wage Gap, NPWF Urges Policymakers to Reject Business as Usual, Tear Down Systemic Barriers

NPWF President on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day: A real [economic] recovery must do more than return to and cement a pre-pandemic status quo […], it must transform our approach to the economy as a whole, tackling persistent barriers that have undermined Black women’s employment and implementing policies designed to promote sustained economic security and equity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 27, 2023 – Today, National Partnership for Women & Families President Jocelyn C. Frye released a new issue brief on the systemic barriers that impact Black women’s economic security. The report, “Rejecting Business as Usual” comes on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which marks how far into the current year Black women must work to catch up to what their white-male counterparts earned in the prior year. Currently, Black women workers, including those working full-time and those working part-time, make an average of just 64 cents for every $1 non-Hispanic white men make – lost income that could amount to 30 months of food, 25 months of child care, 4 semesters of tuition and 19 months of rent – according to updated analysis by the National Partnership. And, despite often having higher rates of labor force participation than other women, Black women also experience among the highest rates of poverty.

Black women are a critical backbone of a strong economy, strong families and strong communities. Yet, they disproportionately work in low-paid and insecure essential jobs, many of which lack meaningful work-family or caregiving supports. Black women assume much of the caregiving responsibilities for their families – for example, Black mothers are more likely than other mothers to be the sole or primary breadwinner for their families, thus the need to care for and provide economic resources to their families is essential. The fact that Black women continue to encounter gender and racial discrimination – in navigating workplace attitudes and stereotypes and accessing job opportunities – further limits their job options.

When these factors are combined with inequities in pay and other economic disparities, the impact on earnings, wealth, being prepared for financial emergencies, and retirement can have consequences for entire families. In the report, Frye examines Black women’s employment through history and analyzes these underlying economic problems and systemic issues that continue to impede Black women’s economic security today. Frye urges policymakers to take on a new approach to economic equity – one that supports Black women’s employment by improving wages and benefits in the occupations in which they most likely work while addressing barriers to their employment in higher paying occupations, as well as prioritizes investments in paid family and medical leave and affordable child care and enforcement of employment discrimination laws.

“We cannot rely on business-as-usual, pre-pandemic measures to assess the scope of the economic recovery for Black women without taking a closer look at the stubbornly persistent disparities and inequities that Black women still endure,” said Jocelyn Frye, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, and author of the report. “Black women continue to juggle caregiving and work responsibilities with too little support. The world has changed, the way women live and work has changed, and yet, our economic policies haven’t caught up. It is past time for policymakers to prioritize solutions that advance the economic well-being and employment opportunities of Black women.”

Earlier this week, the National Partnership for Women & Families organized a press call with President Jocelyn C. Frye and prominent Black women leaders and allies, including the nation’s oldest Black women’s organization, to discuss new analyses of the wage gap for U.S. Black women, its impacts on Black families, and potential policy solutions.

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About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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