Black women face alarming double-discrimination in the workplace every day on the basis of both their gender and race. On average, black women are paid 38 percent less than white men, and 21 percent less than white women, according to a study released by Leanin.Org and SurveyMonkey in sponsorship with the National Urban League on Wednesday.
The research shows there remains widespread ignorance among employers and the general American population about this issue. Thirty-three percent of survey takers were unaware of the pay gap between white men and black women, while 50 percent hadn’t heard of the pay gap between white and black women.
Workplace discrimination for black women goes beyond just pay. Leanin.Org and McKinsey & Company’s annual Women in the Workplace Study found that black women tended to receive less support from their managers, and were promoted less often.
For example, 40 percent of white women reported that managers defended them or their work, while only 28 percent of black women felt the same. Forty-one percent of white women felt promotions were based on fair and objective criteria, while only 34 percent of black women agreed.
These biases can be especially damning for black mothers since over 80 percent are the top earners for their households. If the pay gap were eliminated, black women would earn an additional $870,000 on average throughout their careers.
On August 7, several brands will partner with LeanIn.Org to launch the #38PercentCounts campaign in honor of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. Adidas, Lyft, P&G, and Reebok will run programs to spread awareness of the pay gap and emphasize the impact pay discrimination can have on a woman’s day-to-day life.
The campaign will launch again on November 1 in honor of Latina Equal Pay Day to raise awareness of the pay discrimination Latinas face in the workplace. The pay gap for them averages 46 percent.
“The lack of awareness about the pay gap at their own workplace, particularly among hiring managers -two-thirds of whom say there is none– is an insight we hope drives organizations to take action,” Sarah Cho, Director of Research at SurveyMonkey, said.
Cho felt encouraged that shedding light on the severity of workplace discrimination could lead to real solutions.
“Conducting a pay equity study is a powerful way to bring this topic into clear terms, but we also hope these data spark curiosity within companies to measure perceptions about inclusion, so they can build broader programs and policies to help drive meaningful change that lasts,” she said.