IWO: ‘Equal Pay For Black Women Day’ Highlights LA Pay Disparity

NEW ORLEANS – The Independent Women’s Organization (IWO) will somberly mark Monday, July 31, as “Equal Pay for Black Women Day.” 

         In the United States, a black woman makes on average only 63 cents of what a white, non-Hispanic man earns, and has to work until July 31 of the following year to earn what that average man made in those twelve months.

         In Louisiana, Equal Pay Day for Black Women is even later since black women in Louisiana earn only 48 cents for every dollar earned by that average white man. 

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         Lynda Woolard, IWO president, said, “IWO advocates for women and supports candidates who will be their champions in achieving equality and economic security. All women face gender discrimination in many forms and we have been working particularly on economic security. We must recognize and challenge the double jeopardy faced by many of our members – the racial pay gap.”

         Sharonda Williams, IWO vice-president, said, “Our state’s outcomes for black women and their families are abominable. We have alarmingly high statistics in Louisiana for black women stuck in low wage jobs and in poverty, lacking workplace benefits like paid sick and maternity leave, and struggling to take care of the children and loved ones who depend on them…. It is no coincidence that health outcomes like maternal mortality are also high – black women in the South are more likely to die in childbirth than white women in the United States.”

         Nakita Shavers, IWO recording secretary, said, “Over time, women of my generation lose on average hundreds of thousands to a million or more dollars from this pay gap. When I learned that the gap between black and white women was growing – I was horrified!  We are going in the wrong direction.”

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         IWO is a partner in a coalition of organizations called LAW – Legislative Agenda for Women – that supports issues important to women and families in Louisiana including advocating for equal pay, raising the minimum wage, access to affordable, quality child care and paid leave policies. 

         Julie Schwam Harris, IWO advocacy chair, said, “IWO will continue to work with LAW coalition members to lift Louisiana off the bottom compared to other states on indicators of well-being for women and families.  We know the economy of the entire state suffers and will continue to push for better policies and law.”

         For more information

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