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Commission on Black Girls, Columbus Women’s Commission, and Columbus Chamber of Commerce Host Signing Event in Honor of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

July 10th, 2023

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The Commission on Black Girls today joined forces with the Columbus Women’s Commission (CWC) and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce to host a signing event for local businesses to adopt The Columbus Commitment: Advancing Pay Equity Pledge. The event coincides with Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which highlights that it takes the average Black woman – working full-time year-round – an extra seven months to earn what the average white man earns in one year.

“Pay and gender equity isn’t simply the right thing to do, it’s critical to our city’s economic growth and job creation,” said City of Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “You can’t solve the problem unless you know your data and your policies, and the CWC – through the work of its commissioners and the Pay Equity Pledge – is proactively connecting with local businesses to assess their current practices, generate new solutions and realize meaningful change for families all across Columbus.”

More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Black women, on average, earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by their white male peers. Additionally, in comparison to white males, Black women who work full-time face a median salary difference of about $964,400 during a 40-year career.

“Gender- and race-based pay disparities develop over time and, in many cases, they become engrained in the status quo,” said First Lady Shannon Ginther, chair of the Columbus Women’s Commission. “That is why it is incumbent upon us to act now, to engage directly with the businesses in our community, so that we can dismantle persisting barriers to equality, and build new, more equitable systems in their place.”

“Equal pay for equal work isn’t just a slogan, but a fundamental principle that should serve as a guide in all of our workplaces. The value of a Black woman’s labor is immeasurable, and it is time we ensure that she receives the same pay and recognition as her counterparts in Columbus and beyond,” said Carla Williams-Scott, director of the Columbus Department of Neighborhoods. “We stand in solidarity with the Columbus Women’s Commission to amplify awareness of these unfortunate and glaring disparities in hopes of sparking change and challenging the current status quo.”

“Black Women’s Equal Pay Day serves as a call to action to address the structural and systemic barriers contributing to the wage gap,” said Sherrice Sledge-Thomas, VP of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. “As someone who’s experienced pay inequities, I stand with the Columbus Women’s Commission and ECDI to create a more equitable society where we receive equal compensation for our work.” 

The Columbus Commitment is a voluntary, employer-led effort in which business owners pledge to take action to close the wage gap and achieve pay equity for working women. Since its inception, more than 300 local employers – including Cardinal Health, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Donatos Pizza and others – have signed the pledge and are examining their practices to address equity.