Op-ed recommendation: Why white women must make the equal-pay fight more inclusive

In this new article for New York magazine, activist and writer Brittany Packnett challenges white women to bring more nuance to the fight for equal pay. After all, although the most commonly cited statistic about equal pay is that women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, that statistic only applies to white women. Black women make 65 cents while Latina women make just 58 cents. And as Packnett points out, "Asian-American, Pacific Islander, and Native women are often not even considered 'statistically significant' enough to be calculated." Packnett also writes:

Just like the "all lives matter" choir, the "but all women" crowd tends to shout women with marginalized identities along the lines of race, sexuality, class, and physical ability back into silence. They were there in suffrage. They overwhelmed the Women's March despite the planners' intentions. They repeatedly ignored our pleas on November 8 that Trump was exponentially more dangerous to the rest of us. They love to tweet me platitudes about color-blindness. They insist this is in the name of unity, but it feels awfully like the spirit of supremacy. We will not end supremacy by perpetuating it. You cannot dismantle oppression while you practice it. When I hear "but all women," I'm reminded that these women are willing to fight for their dollar but not mine. Ignoring labor cries for a livable $15 an hour reminds women of color — who proportionally out-populate white women in labor fields — that they don't matter to the cause.

As people of color, our earning power is certainly harmed and our gaps increased because a smaller share of our populations are college educated — which is, of course, not an argument against the statistical relevancy of the race question, but rather an argument for the importance of admissions and financial support for students of color. But even college-educated black and Latina women make, on average, 70 percent of what similarly educated white men make — while white women make an average of 80 percent against the same measure. Not "all women" — just us. This disparity is not just a failure of morality — it is a failure of efficacy. And a movement that leaves women of the global majority behind is not an effective movement.

You can read the full article on New York's website.

[Header image: National Women's Law Center Equal Payback Project]