Bronzeville celebration focuses on pay gap between Black women, white men

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Chicago celebration focuses on pay gap between Black women, white men
Tuesday is Black Women's Equal Pay Day 2024. A Bronzeville celebration focused on the pay gap between Black women and white men.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Black women earn 66 cents for every dollar earned by white men.

Tuesday is Black Women's Equal Pay Day, a time when the focus is on that pay gap.

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After years of working low-paying retail jobs, server Teara Willborn is finally making good money now that she's working at Truth Restaurant on the city's South Side.

"As an African American Black woman, it's good to know I'm getting what I deserve for the work I put in," Willborn said.

She's lucky, but other women of color aren't, as Chicago and the country mark Black Women's Equal Pay Day.

Tuesday's local annual event held on July 9 highlights the disparity between what Black women and their white counterparts are paid.

"Today we are celebrating Black Women Equal Pay Day," One Fair Wage National Chair Nataki Rhodes said in Bronzeville.

According to the latest U.S. Census data available from 2022, Black women typically earn only 66 cents on the dollar to what white, non-Hispanic men make.

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When only those working full-time year-round are considered, Black women's pay inches up to 69 cents.

This year's National Black Women's Equal Pay Day comes as tipped service industry workers see the first hourly pay bump resulting from the One Fair Wage ordinance passed last October.

Workers earning subminimum wage in Chicago are required to be paid at least $11.02 an hour. That's a $1.54 increase.

"I am here to support raising the minimum wage," Truth Restaurant owner Peytyn Willborn said.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson continues to support wage equity, saying it's more important now than ever.

"You all know, it is the hard work of Black women that saved this democracy," Johnson said.

Supporters are still pushing for paycheck equity, which can lead to wealth building and a stable retirement.

And, while advocates acknowledge there has been some progress, there's plenty of work to be done.