3 Things You Can Do Now To Help End The 'Pay Gap' For Black Women

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3 Things You Can Do Now To Help End The Pay Gap For Black Women At Work

March is Women’s History Month, and while we are all focused on many other things during the coronavirus pandemic, this month is still an amazing opportunity to celebrate all that women today achieve as mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, caretakers, friends, workers, and professionals. After all, someday (hopefully soon) we will all be back at work and school, and sadly, many of the same issues facing women in the workplace — like the pay gap and implicit racial bias — will still be at play.

As we unite to celebrate ourselves this month, let’s make sure we’re doing so in a way that holds the space for the ladies who are dual-minorities, which "refers to individuals who identify with two different minority statuses." After all, women who are dual minorities have an even higher glass ceiling to break.

As organizations, companies, and educational institutions jump to sprinkle the terms “diversity, equity, and inclusion” into all of their internal policies and external recruiting campaigns, we have to stop and wonder, what does this look like in practice?

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Unfortunately, as Black women, we know that no policy or recruitment effort truly addresses the marginalization we experience as dual minorities. The 2019 Women in the Workplace study shows that in spite of new policies, Black women continue to be underrepresented at every area of the corporate pipeline and receive less support and opportunity to advance.

The “no tolerance” policies for discrimination based upon gender or ethnicity seem great on paper, but what we truly need is for these policies to translate into true professional advancement, inclusion, and equity for black women within the workplace.

Making history can only happen if we’re willing to do it together and with a conscious goal in mind — that there is a part that everyone can play in promoting equality in pay, privilege, and respect in the office.

If you are a person of privilege who knows you aren’t racist or sexist but are unsure how to proactively encourage inclusion of Black women in the office, so that they might have the greater opportunity at advancement (which is necessary in order to achieve equity), here are three really easy ways you can make history today. These tips are relatively easy ways to proactively promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

1. Be honest about your salary.

Whoa. I know I struck a nerve there, but don’t tune me out just yet! Sharing how much you earn will help the black women in your organization assess if she’s being underpaid. If you at minimum, share what you earn, she will have the guidance in what her ask should or could be.

2. Write her a LinkedIn Recommendation.

Have you worked with or heard about a black woman who was amazing to partner with for a project? Let the world know!

"Research on “implicit bias” suggests that people can act on the basis of prejudice and stereotypes without intending to do so," according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. In addition to implicit bias, the media, and even outright racism often precede a black woman before she ever enters the room, organization, or course of study.

The recommendations that you write in support of Black women are, like all recommendations, published on LinkedIn to be seen by recruiters, managers, and even other coworkers or classmates. This can begin to shape a new narrative and value of Black women within your organization and in her own professional advancement.

3. Ask for her ideas, and credit her for them.

Is there a gap in learning or practice you’re attempting to solve? Did you know the Black woman in your office or classroom is probably extremely resourceful, thoughtful, and has valuable insight she could provide?

Proactively seek to include her by asking her thoughts on a project — and not just about issues regarding race.

This will make you an amazing rock star for forwarding inclusion, but also give her the opportunity to highlight her expertise in an area. And don’t forget to mention in the team meeting, to your supervisor, or during her review, “I couldn’t get past this, but she was a great team player and provided some awesome insight.”

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Wow. I know I just made something as challenging as working to end the pay gap seem so simple. You’re wondering why you didn’t think of these yourself!

In just five days, I’m sure you can find time to do all three of these quick steps that could truly make the black women in your organization feel valued, included, and in a space that encourages her professional advancement.

After all, creating a truly inclusive workplace is good for your business and your employees, and while it will take a little effort, soon you will find these practices will become natural, and everyone around you will benefit as a result. After all, as this Forbes article makes clear, fostering diversity and creating a more inclusive workplace helps build stronger businesses.

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Brittany Bronson is an award winning career consultant focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of the workforce. She's also a wife and mother to an amazing 8 year old and a set of 3 year old twins. Follow Brittany's professional work on Twitter and her personal Twitter, @BossyBritt, for more tips on resume writing, interviewing, and overcoming professional barriers.