by Raena Saddler and Rachel Thomas
– The $1 million gap. Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, meaning Black women had to work all of last year and this far into 2020 to earn what white men earned in 2019 alone; white women accomplished that goal four months ago.
On top of that astounding fact there’s this one: the pay gap will account for nearly $1 million in lost income over the course of a Black women’s career.
To mark the day, two leaders from LeanIn.org have written a Fortune op-ed that highlights the working experience of Black women. The pay gap, write co-founder and CEO Rachel Thomas and VP of people and managing director Raena Saddler, is “part of a much bigger problem.”
LeanIn.org and McKinsey have conducted the largest study of women in corporate America for five years now. “Year after year, the data tell the same story,” Saddler and Thomas write, “the workplace is worse for women than for men, worse for women of color than white women, and for Black women in particular, in many ways, it’s worst of all.”
They highlight a number of ways the business world shortchanges Black women; this one stuck out most to me: “59% of Black women say that they have never—not once—had an informal interaction with a senior leader at their company.”
But in addition to drawing attention to the problems, the pair also suggests steps to take toward solutions.
For one: “embrace an intersectional approach. The challenges Black women face are rooted in a combination of sexism and racism, so any attempt to support them must take both into account. For example, companies should track representation by gender and race combined and set hiring and promotion targets for women of color and Black women specifically.”
You can read their entire piece here.