5 Ways to Support Equal Pay for Black Women

Categories: General

Marking September 21 as Black Women’s Equal Pay Day recognizes that Black women have to work an additional 264 days into 2022 to make the same amount of money that white, non-Hispanic men made in 2021. Here are five steps organizations can actively take towards achieving pay equity for Black women: 

  • De-bias the hiring process 
  • Make compensation fair and transparent 
  • Conduct regular pay audits 
  • De-bias the performance evaluation process 
  • Invest in Black women’s leadership potential

Tip #1: De-bias the hiring process 

  • Invest in implicit bias training for all staff, especially those involved in the hiring process 
  • Continuously engage those involved in the hiring process in DEI and racial justice reflections to address dynamics like bias and privilege 
  • Diversify every hiring team 
  • Implement equity standards like refusing to move forward with a job search until there is a diverse slate of qualified candidates 
  • Empower employees to speak out if they see bias at play in any employment processes

Tip #2: Make all compensation fair and transparent across the organization 

  • Compensate based on the actual business worth of a position 
  • Advertise pay range as part of job descriptions, which enables all applicants to negotiate salaries from the same position 
  • Remember: in Illinois it is unlawful for an employer to ask about salary history

Tip #3: Conduct regular pay audits at all levels, from entry to management 

  • Establish and be transparent about specific procedures to identify and close any identified wage gaps 
  • Regularly assess inequality in compensation, benefits, promotion, and advancement in terms of both race and gender 
  • Eradicate punishment or retaliatory conduct for employees who disclose their pay to others

Tip #4: De-bias the performance evaluation process 

  • Assess your evaluation procedures for equity gaps such as vague language or biased metrics 
  • Make DEI competencies a metric for evaluating employee performance and value 
  • Empower evaluators to be mindful of their own biases 
  • Regularly audit the evaluation process to track from whom feedback is collected, and to identify inequities in the types of feedback different employees receive 
  • For example, research shows Black women receive more unactionable feedback (ie, feedback about personality rather than work or job performance)

Tip #5: Invest in Black women’s leadership potential 

  • Invest in pipeline and mentorship programs to support Black women’s entry, belonging, and retention in your industry 
  • Invest in Employee Resource Groups to support your Black women colleagues, sponsoring ERGs financially and integrating them into the organization’s decision-making process 
  • Uplift Black women colleagues by dedicating your own resources, power, and privilege to support their professional development 

Learn more about the gender and race pay gap: 

Learn more about how YWCA Metropolitan Chicago supports pay equity through its mission to eliminate racism and empower women: