WXXI AM News

Local advocates call for compensation transparency in honor of National Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

Aug 3, 2021

Community members wear red and gather at Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester in honor of Black Women's Equal Pay Day.
Credit April Franklin / WXXI News

 According to a report by the National Women’s Law Center, Black women have to work 8 additional months to earn what white men make in one year.

On Tuesday local and state officials gathered with community members at the Liberty Pole in Rochester to bring awareness for National Black Women's Equal Pay Day. Organizers from the Pay Equity Coalition are hoping to bring change on a legislative level. 

Deputy County Executive Corinda Crossdale said that Black women are often recognized for being the first in their positions but are not compensated for their work.

“I’m the first African-American woman to sit in the deputy county executive’s position. We appreciate the recognition of the titles. It's also nice to be recognized through pay equity.” 

Crossdale mentioned Monroe County’s equal pay executive order put forth by Adam Bello on Black women equal pay day 2020. She said it’s up to policymakers and lawmakers to make sure the right thing is done.

Singer, attorney and activist Danielle Ponder, spoke passionately to the crowd about Rochester’s history of racist policies that negatively affect compensation for Black women.

“The conversation around poverty eradication shifted dramatically when Black people, specifically Black women, began to demand access to programs that they were historically denied, '' Ponder said.

Ponder said Black women dominate low-paying service jobs including at Monroe County’s public defender’s office where she works.

“Paralegals, our legal secretary and our legal assistants are where the Black women work in our office and are some of the lowest paid employees in the county. This is something the county can change,” Ponder said.

State Senator Samra Brouk announced she will be signing on to a salary range transparency bill that would require employers in New York state to disclose salary or range-of-compensation when hiring.

Brouk shared her own story of advocating for fair wages after a white male co-worker disclosed his salary.

“He was making $10,000 more than me for the same exact job, Brouk said. “I used that information and his transparency to fight for what I knew what I was worth."

Brouk said it should not be the responsibility of the employee to figure out the wages an employer is offering for a specific job.