Black Women’s Equal Pay Day has come and gone, being observed on August 22nd as symbolic of the amount of extra time black female professionals would have to work to earn an annual salary equivalent to that of their white male counterparts. Though we discuss hypergamy and choosing “up” within the DDS camp quite a bit, it is still important to recognize the pitfalls of unfairness that await black and brown skinned women in this world simply because we are in the skin we are in.
And, while being hypergamous at home is certainly an excellent thing to fall back on, black women should still be mindful of how to navigate around such pitfalls, ensuring that the time and effort we spend on building our careers pays off to the fullest. Here are some strategies for how black women can fight against the gender and racial pay gap:
- Always do your homework. When it comes to careers, salaries, and what your experience and education level will pay, what you don’t know can absolutely hurt you. It is now easier than ever to research these professional details through sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, but talking to other professionals to get the scoop helps too. You should not entertain jobs or employers that cannot pay you what you are worth, and part of how you can know what you are worth is to research it, especially among upper management colleagues. At first, this might come as a challenge; we generally frown upon discussing salaries openly in work spaces. But finding out how your skill set is valued is another way to approach the subject without directly shining a spotlight on yourself.
- Do not be afraid to get up from the table. As black women, we are often conditioned to tolerate less than acceptable circumstances by default. We are often expected to hold the community up by doing the hard work with little or nothing in return, we accept subpar behavior from romantic partners and friends, and, unfortunately, many of us settle into jobs where our worth is not valued as it should be.
ut this all must be reversed, in our personal lives as well as our professional lives. If an employer refuses to value you for your worth, you mustn’t be afraid to walk away. It is not an act of arrogance, it is proof that you are willing to bet on yourself. You should always have faith in yourself against any circumstance this world will throw at you. I am not saying it will be an easy road, but a black woman who can stand tall in her confidence and dignity is beautiful and powerful