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.
Always keep in mind that though certain unfair injustices exist, they do not have to become your reality. The only thing that you are destined to become is whatever you decide upon. If pay inequality truly upsets you, find a way to work your magic and succeed in spite of the system. After all, the best revenge really is your paper.
Antoinette is a consultant, author, yogini, and host of The Midday Reset Podcast. Her personal development courses are centered on helping women realize their potential from the inside out. When she is not advising clients, teaching, authoring books, or recording episodes for her podcast, she is enjoying life with her husband and two children. Find her on Instagram @msantoinettechanel.