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“Let’s get back those 37 cents”: Serena Williams Pens Essay for Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

In a piece for Fortune, titled “How Black Women Can Close the Pay Gap,” tennis legend Serena Williams writes about today being Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and that the day “shines a light on the long-neglected fact that the gender pay gap hits women of color the hardest. Black women are 37 cents behind men in the pay gap—in other words, for every dollar a man makes, black women make 63 cents.”

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This, Williams says, means that on any level, whether it be in Silicon Valley or in inner cities, “women of color have to work—on average—eight months longer to earn the same as their male counterparts do in one year.” Black woman are, with no exaggeration, being robbed, and the financial inequalities are completely unacceptable.

In the article, Williams talks about her own experiences—like the misogyny and racism she’s faced on her path to success and the platform she’s using to fight for the 24 million black women in America dealing with similar obstacles. “The cycles of poverty, discrimination, and sexism are much, much harder to break than the record for Grand Slam titles,” the athlete-activist writes, “Most black women across our country do not have the same support that I did, and so they often don’t speak out about what is just, fair and appropriate in the workplace. When they do, they are often punished for it.”

For the piece, Williams also partnered with SurveyMonkey to examine American opinions on the wage gap, where she found troubling statistics like “Sixty-nine percent of black women perceive a pay gap, while just 44% of white men recognize the issue,” and more. When the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it, the fact that less than half of the surveyed even acknowledge the issue is discouraging. She concludes by asking that black women assert themselves, and allies and those in their industries work actively to make their work spaces inclusive and fair in what is a systematic problem.

This isn’t the first time Williams has talked about equality in the workplace. Not only is the tennis champion open about the discrimination she’s faced in the sport, she’s also appeared on sites like WIRED as a guest editor to write about how tech needs to be more diverse, praising programs like Black Girls Code. Her continued dedication to being a voice for women in all fields is nothing short of inspiring.

(via Jezebel, image: screencap)

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