COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The City of Columbus is recognizing August 7th as “Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.”

It represents the amount of time African-American women must work into the following year to earn what a man earned the previous year. 

“It takes black women seven additional months to make the same amount of money that a man will earn in the previous year,” said president and CEO of Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD) Barb Smoot. “We’re here to acknowledge that the City of Columbus is actively working to close that gap.”

She said more than 140 businesses in Columbus have signed a commitment to help close the gender pay gap. On Monday, another 14 companies did the same thing.

“Who wouldn’t want their partner to make more money? Who wouldn’t want their wife to make more money?” said co-owner of Bake Me Happy Letha Pugh. “If you pay people more, maybe they can invest in their futures, maybe they’d have more for basic necessities.”

Pugh represented one of the 14 businesses signing the commitment. 

“We have a responsibility to pay people fair wages,” she said. 

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the disparities in pay for women of color are unacceptable. In Columbus, for every $1 a man earns, a woman earns 80 cents. It’s even less for women of color. Nationally, African-American women are paid 63 cents compared to men and Latina women are paid 54 cents. 

“Not only are black women having to work longer to catch up, the effects compound over time,” said Mayor Ginther. “They stand to lose on average $840,000 in wages over a 40 year career.”

Smoot said pay equity begins with companies.

“When you have women who are making lesser income that others make that impacts their ability to pay rent, their ability to save for college for their children and their ability to care for their families,” she said. “We are better, we are stronger when all of us are being compensated fairly for the work that we do.”

To learn more about “The Columbus Commitment: Achieving Pay Equity” CLICK HERE.