On Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, New Research from LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey Shows Many Americans Remain Unaware of the Pay Gap, Major Inequalities Hurt Black Women’s Career Advancement
Palo Alto, CA - Today, August 22, is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which marks how far Black women had to work into 2019 to make what white men earned in 2018 alone. For a second year, LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey have partnered to conduct new research to measure Americans’ awareness of this pay gap and better understand the experiences of Black women in the workplace, using SurveyMonkey Audience. The results are clear and troubling: Black women face far more barriers to advancement, and only half of Americans think these obstacles still exist.
On average, Black women are paid 39 percent less than white men and 21 percent less than white women. Even when you control for industry, occupation and education, Black women on average are paid less than white men. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, if the pay gap were closed, in a single year a Black woman working full-time would be able to afford over three years’ worth of groceries, nearly two years of rent, or two and a half years’ worth of childcare.
The new research from LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey shows that many people don’t know that Black women are paid less or understand the magnitude of this pay gap. A third of Americans don’t know there’s a pap gap between Black women and white men—and 42 percent of people who are aware of this pay gap underestimate its size. Moreover, half of Americans don’t know there’s a pay gap between Black women and white women.
“While many Americans don’t realize the pay gap for Black women exists, Black women and their families certainly feel the effects. If the pay gap were closed, the average Black woman would earn almost $950,000 more over the course of her career—a staggering figure, especially when you consider nearly 4 in 10 Americans say they’d struggle to cover an unexpected $400 expense,” said Rachel Thomas, co-founder and CEO of LeanIn.Org.
“Just like last year, our research shows that awareness about the pay gap for Black women remains too low,” said Sarah Cho, Director of Research at SurveyMonkey. “We're also seeing that Black women have far less access to opportunity in the form of job training and interactions with senior leaders. We hope this research encourages companies to dig deeper into the interconnected factors that contribute to this disparity so we can all make progress in narrowing the gap.”
The pay gap Black women face is only one piece of the story. This new research highlights that Black women also experience a lack of access to opportunity:
These findings are also supported by research from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace, which shows that Black women face more barriers to advancement and get less support:
In this year’s SurveyMonkey and LeanIn.Org study, over a third of Americans said they believe offering leadership training, increasing wage transparency, and creating flexible workplace policies are effective ways to provide opportunities to help women and men advance equally. To address obstacles that can contribute to the pay gap and prevent Black women from advancing, LeanIn.Org is issuing a series of recommendations for companies based on findings from Women in the Workplace:
Put processes in place to ensure that employees doing the same work are being paid the same
Ensure the performance review process is fai
Train employees to identify and challenge bias
Double down on mentorship, sponsorship, and leadership training
At leanin.org/bwepd, visitors can find the full findings and resources to combat gender bias in the workplace. To learn more about the study, please visit the SurveyMonkey blog.
KEY FINDINGS FROM 2019 BLACK WOMEN’S EQUAL PAY SURVEY CONDUCTED BY LEANIN.ORG AND SURVEYMONKEY:
Many people don’t realize that Black women are paid less for similar work. A third of Americans (34%) don’t know that Black women, on average, are paid less than white men—and half of Americans (53%) don’t know that Black women, on average, are paid less than white women.
Even when people know there’s a pay gap, it’s bigger than they realize. A Black woman makes 61 cents for every dollar a white man makes. Even when people know the pay gap exists, 42% of them underestimate its size.
Black women’s awareness of the pay gap is higher, and many see wage transparency as key to workplace equity. 69% of Black women are aware that white men, on average, are paid more than them. When asked what companies can do to provide equal opportunities for advancement for men and women alike, 40% of Black women selected wage transparency as their top solution.
The pay gap is only part of the problem. Black women get far less support at work. Compared to white men, Black women are significantly less likely to have ever received job or executive leadership training (white men: 33%, Black women: 19%) and to have had a mentor or sponsor at some point in their career (white men: 31%, Black women: 19% ). Most notably, Black women are almost three times less likely to have ever had access to senior leaders (white men: 44%, Black women: 16%). A similar disparity holds when you compare Black women to white women—in all cases, Black women get less support.
Most people are overly optimistic about the state of Black women. Only half of Americans (51%) think there are still obstacles that make it harder for Black women to advance. Not surprisingly, more than two-thirds of Black women (71%) say significant obstacles still exist.
An initiative of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, LeanIn.Org works to help women achieve their ambitions and create a more equal world. LeanIn.Org offers inspiration and support through an online community, free education materials, and Lean In Circles, small groups of peers who meet regularly to learn and grow together. The Lean In community includes more than two million women and men and 43,000 Lean In Circles in 172 countries. The Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, which also runs OptionB.Org, is a private operating nonprofit organization under IRS section 501(c)(3).
SurveyMonkey is a leading global survey software company on a mission to power the curious. The company’s People Powered Data platform empowers over 17 million active users to measure and understand feedback from employees, customers, website and app users, and the market. SurveyMonkey’s products, enterprise solutions and integrations enable 335,000+ organizations to solve daily challenges, from delivering better customer experiences to increasing employee retention. With SurveyMonkey, organizations around the world can transform feedback into business intelligence that drives growth and innovation.