International Women’s Day and the wage gap

Last week Thursday the world celebrated International Women’s Day.  And by celebrate I mean, there were a bunch of posts on social media.

I didn’t know it was IWD until I woke up and scrolled down my feed to see that my two sisters; one by blood and the other by love had posted something inspirational about IWD.

And then throughout the day, people began posting images and for a split second I thought, oooh, I should post something and damn, CREAD didn’t write anything and geez, I didn’t even have this on my radar. And I began to feel very guilty because I go hard for Black History Month and today almost half way through the month is the 1st time, I, Khalilah am writing a post for my own site during Women’s History Month.

But, I gotta be honest.

Can I be honest?

Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day…just feels so very White to me. I don’t feel nothing…that’s improper grammar right? I don’t feel anything for either of these celebrations.

Which made me wonder, did any of my teachers out there acknowledge IWD in your classrooms, last week? Have you all been doing anything for Women’s History Month? Do y’all even know the theme for this year IWD, did you know a theme existed?

Well the theme is #PressforProgress:

The IWD campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize collective action. The campaign theme does not end on International Women’s Day. It’s just the start. Throughout the year many groups worldwide adopt the IWD campaign theme for further campaign work, gender-focused initiatives, continuing activity and events…

Collective action and shared responsibility for driving gender parity is what makes International Women’s Day successful. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

Ummmmm, ok.

So we’re pressing for progress around gender parity, which simply means to compare one statistical measure of women to the same statistical measure of men. But even when I read up on IWD and the campaign for the year. I didn’t feel connected at all.

It’s really hard to separate my gender from my race. The opening line of the gender parity article states that women make 80% of what men make. The problem with that is it is White women compared to White Men. And once you parse this information around racial and gendered lines you get a more honest understanding of this parity.

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So, I tried to find the wage gap between Black men and women and Latino men and women and well…I’m still looking for that information because apparently those gaps, if they exist the same way it does for White men and women aren’t readily available.

See, because when I think about closing these gaps in income I really can’t wrap my brain around doing it with a singular identity as a woman especially because here in America, woman means white.

Now what I did find is the wage gap among men. Let me tell you how White Supremacy works. If you look at the graph below shouldn’t Asian men be the ones we’re all chasing since they make the most money. Lol, but nooooo, we still center the wage conversation on White men but like the article says White men make up the largest share of the workforce.

I guess.

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However, looking just at those with a bachelor’s degree or more education, wage gaps by gender, race and ethnicity persist. College-educated black and Hispanic men earn roughly 80% the hourly wages of white college educated men ($25 and $26 vs. $32, respectively). White and Asian college-educated women also earn roughly 80% the hourly wages of white college-educated men ($25 and $27, respectively). However, black and Hispanic women with a college degree earn only about 70% the hourly wages of similarly educated white men ($23 and $22, respectively). As with workers overall, college-educated Asian men out-earn college-educated white men by about $3 per hour of work.


So Black and Latino men make about 80% of White men make and Black and Latino women make up about 70% of what White men make…I need a math teacher here to help me do some non scientific statistical calculations to take a guess at what the gap is between Black men and women and Latino men and women to each other based on this.

Wouldn’t this make a great unit on something real and tangible in the math classroom that would really develop students understanding of math and the world they’re entering into. Y’all gotta forgive me. I’m still on my Math Content Salon high, going from abstract to concrete.

Where’s our think tank that just looks at this information for us?

Ok, I have gone so left with this post, let me get back right.

I really want to know if any educator in our community did anything for IWD, and if so, what did you do?

Are any of you doing anything for Women’s History Month? And if so, what is it?

Does anyone else who considers themselves a women of the diaspora also feel disconnected from Women’s History month or International Women’s Day? Or is it just me?

As I’ve been reimagining our classrooms in the image of Wakanda I have been nagged by one question, what are we really teaching our children and why? Maybe the even better question is what are we NOT teaching our students and why?

I’m left reimagining the possibilities of how International Women’s Day could really be a thing (not centered in whiteness). And as the site says March 8th is the start of the campaign not the end so though the day has passed we actually have until March 7th, 2019 to really delve into why we have this day, this year’s campaign how does it relate to our aims and goals for an equitable future.

In Black Panther the Black women were experienced as whole and complex human beings. There was no patriarchy, no toxic masculinity (Wakabi was just stupid and naive and Kilmonger; angry and hurt), no innuendo of weakness or inability to do something because they were too emotional.

If we gonna celebrate IWD we should start by visiting Wakanda and re-envisioning what it means to be a woman and in this case a Black woman.

Ok, now I’m really going to search for the wage gap info between Black and Latino men and women, it must exists and I’m going to find it.

In solidarity.


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