Black Women Deserve Equal Pay & Representation
by Kisha Modica, Head of Equality & Belonging at Gap Inc.
As a Black woman working in corporate America in the field of diversity and inclusion, during a global pandemic and national reckoning on racial inequality, I’ve seen and experienced the impact of racial and gender inequities, both personally and professionally. Crisis is a multiplier of exclusion – and pre-existing social vulnerabilities only get worse after a crisis. The pandemic will go away, but the deepening consequences of inequality will remain. This isn’t just data or corporate speak – this is part of my story as a Black Woman. I’m proud to work for Gap Inc. – a company that has a long history of standing for inclusion and equality while also recognizing when it has more work to do to best live out its values.
Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day which draws attention to the sad reality that in the United States, Black women earn just $0.62 for every dollar compared to white men. The wage gap facing Black women and other women of color is about more than money. It’s connected to a larger set of disparities across education, healthcare, access to childcare and homeownership – all of which impact one’s ability to accumulate wealth. Gap Inc. was the first Fortune 500 company to announce equal pay for equal work among men and women. And, now – among a host of other racial equity commitments – starting this year, Gap Inc. will have an external firm assess our pay data by race for all U.S. employees, and we’re committed to fixing any disparities we find.
It’s important for Black Americans to be counted and have our voices heard in our workplaces, communities, and in our governmental institutions so proposals and policies address the pervasive issues impacting our community. We know that people of color experience disproportionate barriers to voting and that our communities are often undercounted and underserved. That’s why this year, on the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Gap Inc. and our family of brands launched a campaign to encourage customers and employees to fill out the census and register to vote.
As Head of Equality & Belonging at Gap Inc., I’m excited to be part of a movement that is uncovering and bringing gender and racial disparities into sharper focus. It’s not enough to cultivate a culture of inclusion and equality inside our walls: We know that we have a platform, and that comes with a responsibility to be a force for good in the world. That’s why I’m so excited to share that Gap Inc. has joined the Black In Fashion Council and signed their Black in Fashion Pledge to live our commitment to be part of the solution to create lasting, systemic change alongside our peers across the industry. This commitment starts with increased transparency, representation and accountability among industry leaders.
We’re a global company and, like any company, we’re not perfect. There’s hard work to be done, but I’m proud of the work we continue to do to drive change. Let today be a reminder that no one has to be left behind.