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The Black Women’s Health Imperative Observes National Black Women’s Equal Pay Day While Reflecting on the Barriers Black Women Still Face

Today, the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) recognizes National Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. This year, the day is observed…

By Girl Power News , in News , at October 26, 2022

Today, the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) recognizes National Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. This year, the day is observed more than one month later than it was last year. The added days signal the widening wage gap that still exists between Black women and white men, and also seek to represent the number of additional days Black women must work into the current year in order to match what white men made in the year prior.

“On this symbolic and somber day, we reflect on the numerous barriers facing Black women in the workplace,” said Linda Goler Blount, MPH, president and CEO of the BWHI. “Black women are paid just 58 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Black women workers are also forced to endure systemic racism and gender discrimination on a daily basis. The stress of these inequities affects not only Black women’s financial health, but their physical and emotional health, as well.”

In addition to being underrepresented in leadership positions, while being overrepresented in minimum wage-based jobs, research has revealed that the chronic trauma endured due to rampant racism and discrimination in the workplace significantly ages Black Americans. These occurrences add to an expansive list of adverse health outcomes that include illnesses like PTSD, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated pre-existing workplace inequities by forcing countless Black women to work dangerous front-line jobs, or settle for part-time employment in fields where they are more prone to experience greater instances of microaggressions, less support from managers or, worse, become unemployed.

In an effort to combat workplace discrimination, the BWHI has launched the Fair Work Initiative™. A robust and quantifiable solution to the discrimination Black women disproportionately endure, the initiative is a methodical, data-backed, and evidence-based program that provides employers with the tools to create a fairer, healthier, and more equitable workplace. The four-part multi-year strategy also lays the foundation to define a national set of standards which allow progressive corporations and prospective employees to evaluate a company’s inclusion practices, and thus, promote positive change.

Angelica Geter, DrPH, MPH, Chief Strategy Officer at the BWHI, and head of its Fair Work Initiative™ reminds us that: “Progress does not have to be limited. But when little is done to impact the trajectory of the lives of Black women, by way of checkbox exercises and programs that are unsuccessful in effecting positive change in the workplace, they will be left behind as the world moves on from the pandemic.” Geter continues, “Given the delay of this year’s Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, it’s clear that there’s still an immense amount of work to be done. We at the Black Women’s Health Imperative remain committed to fighting for the wellness of Black women in all spheres. Today, we call on corporate leaders to partner with us to make meaningful change in the workplace and work towards an equitable future for Black women.”

physically, emotionally, and financially. Our core mission is advancing health equity and social justice for Black women across their lifespan, through policy, advocacy, education, research, and leadership development.