Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and the Importance of Pay Transparency

Three professional Black women smiling at each other, in front of a table of documents.

Photo Credit: Delmaine Donson

In previous years, we have used Black Women’s Equal Pay Day as an opportunity to investigate the wage gap experienced by Black women in the United States compared to their white colleagues. This holiday calls for us to look at the root causes behind why working Black women (full-time, part-time, and part-year employees) earn 66 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men make.

Ensuring pay equity is a crucial part of racial equity at work, and as such should be a priority to all employers who seek to be allies and abide by the law. The great news is that businesses can promote pay equity before positions are even filled! This blog will look into how pay transparency advances pay and racial equity, all while it creates a more efficient workplace.

When applicants apply to and interview for positions, they are at an inherent disadvantage if they don’t know the salary range that’s being offered. When looking for jobs online, some research has found that, “women of color entered 40% lower minimum salaries than white men.” When candidates make it to the interview stage, one study showed that hiring evaluators were “less willing to make concessions” to Black candidates than white candidates during negotiations, despite both groups negotiating at the same rate.

The frustration associated with potentially undervaluing oneself and outright discriminatory pay practices is part of why 60% of US adults surveyed say they would consider switching jobs for more pay transparency. What’s unfortunate is, as they look for job postings that clearly display their salary ranges, applicants are likely to continue looking for pay rates that don’t reflect their value but that are comparable to their most recent salary. That most recent salary could have been lower than their worth or lower than that of their peers because of pay discrimination. This is how the cycle continues and the wage gap broadens over time.

When new employees begin their careers on unequal footing, it can leave a lasting impact on their cumulative earnings and career trajectory. By posting a proposed salary range in a job description, employees and employers mutually benefit. Employees are empowered to ask for and receive the salary they’re worth. Employers can create a fair foundation for their colleagues, improving company-wide morale and setting a pattern of fair pay practices for the future. No time is wasted for recruiters or applicants when a position offers below what an applicant is looking to make. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Since 2019, 15 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring job ads to give salary ranges. While this has emboldened some jobseekers, some companies have adopted practices that defeat these laws’ purpose. Some are posting salary ranges too wide in their ads, only to later inform their candidates that what’s being offered is at the lower end of the range. It is so crucial for employers and employees to enter any negotiations they may have in their hiring process in good faith, be honest about their offerings, and honor the time a candidate has put into the application process through pay transparency.

While pay transparency will not solve Black women’s wage gap, it is certainly an important step to getting there. This Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, we look forward to seeing how employers across the country embrace pay equity at every stage of a Black woman’s career!

RALIANCE is a trusted adviser for organizations committed to building cultures that are safe, equitable, and respectful. RALIANCE offers unparalleled expertise in serving survivors of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse which drives our mission to help organizations across sectors create inclusive environments for all. For more information, please visit


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