Time’s Up, Pay Up

Gender and Racial Inequity During Crisis: Black Women and the Pay Gap


New survey shows deepening impact of systemic racism and sexism on Black women amid crises

The pay gap is one of the most persistent — yet measurable and, therefore, solvable — indicators of systemic sexism and racism in the United States. While on average, women in the United States are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men, Black women earn just 62 cents on the dollar.

Prior research has shown that there are three main factors that drive the unjust pay gap between men and women in the United States:

To better understand people’s perceptions about the pay gap, study how the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession may affect the drivers of the pay gap, and learn what women feel they need to achieve greater financial security, TIME’S UP Foundation commissioned PerryUndem to field a national survey of 2,528 diverse adults, ages 18 to 64, between June 2-10, 2020. This survey was generously supported by LUNA® bar, a partner in TIME’S UP’s campaign to fight the pay gap.

Across the board, men and women agree the gender pay gap must be closed — especially now

Half of Black women surveyed say pay equity is just as important an issue right now and 35 percent say it is more important during this economic crisis than before.

Graph: 85% of Black women say pay equity is just as or more important now

Yet Black women continue to be underpaid and undervalued

Gender and racial discrimination persists

More than half of Black women in the survey have faced gender or race discrimination or other related obstacles to higher pay.

Graph: More than half of Black women in the survey have faced gender or race discrimination or other related obstacles to higher pay.

Four in 10 Black women in the survey say someone at work has said or implied they don’t work as hard because of their gender, race, or caregiving responsibilities.

One in five Black women has turned down a higher-paying job because the environment was too racist or sexist.

The consequences are staggering

Black women are least likely to have a job that enables financial security and health.

Graph: 42% of Black women in the workforce say they have 'a stable, good-paying job that pays the bills, with money left over for savings and extras' and 'you are able to be physically and emotionally healthy — both at work and at home.'

Percent of respondents in the workforce who say they have “a stable, good-paying job that pays the bills, with money left over for savings and extras” and “you are able to be physically and emotionally healthy — both at work and at home.”

Nearly half of Black women do not have enough money right now to pay for their basic needs, such as food and housing.

More than half of Black women have less than $200 in savings.

Graph: More than half of Black women have less than $200 in savings

The solutions are clear — but require business leaders and policymakers to act

Two-thirds of Black women say racism is one of the reasons for the pay gap. Black women are least likely to say ”women choosing jobs that pay less” is a reason for the gap.

Graph: Two-thirds of Black women say racism is one of the reasons for the pay gap.

Black women are least likely to say “women choosing jobs that pay less” is a reason for the gap.

These systemic problems demand systemic solutions

Black women in the workforce identified several benefits they need for economic security.

Graph: Black women in the workforce identified several benefits they need for economic security.