Women’s Equality Day 2019

Thursday, August 22, is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. What a white man earns in one year, a Black woman must work an additional eight-plus months to earn. For white women, Equal Pay Day falls on April 19. For Indigenous women it’s September 23, and for Latinas it’s November 20.

Our friends at TIME’S UP want to hear from you to show the real impact the pay gap has on Black women. So on August 22, join in the conversation:

  1. Post a selfie + caption OR a short video on Instagram and/or Twitter explaining what #BlackWomensEqualPay means to you. For example:
    1. How does the pay gap impact your everyday life?
    2. What’s one small way you use your power to fight the pay gap for yourself and your peers?
    3. What dreams or goals could you achieve if the pay gap was eliminated?
  2. Use both #BlackWomenCantWait AND #BlackWomensEqualPay in your post so others can follow the conversation.
  3. Tag @TIMESUPNOW (whether it’s a post or an Instagram Story) to make sure that TIME’S UP will see and post on their profile.

TIME’S UP will be sharing your responses all day on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day from the @TIMESUPNOW Instagram & Twitter accounts. Your stories will support the larger TIME’S UP, PAY UP campaign, which brings awareness and drives solutions to gender and racial pay equity.

With Women’s Equality Day around the corner—Monday, August 26—it’s a good occasion to take a look at words that are often used as catch-alls, or whose meanings are frequently conflated with others.

equality vs. parity vs. equity

One pairing that often causes confusion is “equality” and “equity.” Key to the understanding of these concepts is the acknowledgement that providing equal opportunity to all people regardless of background may give an impression of fairness, but providing opportunity to people in a way that evens the playing ground across different backgrounds is what actually removes bias from the equation.

I like the way that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation illustrates this difference when presenting how the terms apply to health equity: if you give everyone the exact same bicycle, you have achieved equality, but equity can only be reached when you give everyone the bicycle that fits their individual needs.

The word “parity” can be even more susceptible to misinterpretation, but consider that it refers to equivalence and balance. We may be many years away from seeing a true 50/50 split of women’s employment in Hollywood, but when we can see an increase in women represented on-screen or holding decision-making roles in a variety of fields and disciplines within the screen industries, we are advancing gender parity.

I hope that this was able to demystify some of the clumsiness surrounding these very important subjects. What other terms do you see people struggle with when talking about these kinds of social issues? Diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality come to mind… If you’re interested in examining more about how the words that shape our culture were themselves formed, I recommend The Allusionist, a podcast about language by Helen Zaltzman.

Spotlight On: Bella Abzug

Women’s Equality Day, established by the U.S. Congress in 1973 following the efforts of Representative Bella Abzug, commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, and calls attention to women’s efforts in the pursuit of full equality. After Abzug’s death in 1998, Alice Cohan of the Feminist Majority Foundation said, “It wasn’t that she was the first woman in Congress. It was that she was the first woman to get in Congress and lead the way toward creating a feminist presence.” Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro said, of Abzug, “Let’s be honest about it: she did not politely knock on the door. She took the hinges off of it.” In Gloria Steinem’s words, “She was a feminist before any of us knew what the word was.” [1][2]