Serena Williams Calls For 'Fearlessness' On Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

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Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, and as the fight for equal pay wages on, what we know is this: Women of color suffer even greater socio-economic inequality.

The "pay gap" refers to the statistic that women earning 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. But the reality of the situation for women of color is even bleaker: Black women make 63 cents, and Latina women make 54 cents.

And here’s the truth of the matter: Progress can’t be made unless everyone acknowledges this reality. 

Today, sports icon and all-around Queen of life, Serena Williams released findings from a survey conducted in partnership with SurveyMonkey that further shed light on the harrowing facts we already know about black women facing economic and social hardships that prevent them from having access to equal opportunities: 

  • Sixty nine percent of black women perceive a pay gap, while just 44 percent of white men recognize the issue.
  • Nearly two thirds of black women say that major obstacles remain for women in the workplace.
  • In addition to gender, black women see obstacles to racial equality: Three quarters of black women workers say there are still significant hurdles holding back minorities.

Despite the harsh circumstances black women face, however, Williams notes that there’s a distinctive air of optimism, particularly among the younger generation of black women: More than 43 percent believe men and women have equal opportunities for promotion.

Williams’ rallying cry in the Fortune article around the importance of fearlessness and unity is super inspiring:

“Black women: Be fearless. Speak out for equal pay. Every time you do, you’re making it a little easier for a woman behind you. Most of all, know that you’re worth it. It can take a long time to realize that. It took me a long time to realize it. But we are all worth it. I’ve long said, ‘You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.’

Let’s get back those 37 cents.”

But it’s not just black women that need to step up as we continue the fight: “Together, we will change the story—but we are going to have to fight for every penny.”

Important words to keep in mind as promises from so-called "champions" of equal pay continue to ring hollow. It's up to us, and the only way forward is together.

Words: Deena Drewis
Photo: GIPHY/@serenawilliams