15 Quotes By Women of Color That You Need to Read On Black Women’s Equal PayDay

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The conversation around gender, race, class and sexual orientation is (thankfully) expanding. As a woman who looks up to and gathers strength from the trailblazing women around me, I feel responsible to not only celebrate them but stand in solidarity with them.

This year in the U.S., black women had to work until Aug. 22 to make as much money as white men did in 2018. Black women also had to work over four months longer into 2019 than the average American woman, whose Equal Pay Day was April 2. But according to a new survey, the majority of Americans don't realize the specific reasons why #BlackWomensEqualPayDay is trending on Twitter RN or why it exists at all.

The aforementioned poll was conducted by Lean In, an organization that fights bias and "advocates for better public policies and a more equitable workplace," according to its website, alongside Survey Monkey in early August. In addition to finding that 53% of Americans don't know about the pay gap between black and white women, the poll also revealed some more startling findings about Americans' awareness of equal pay issues and how they particularly affect black women. For example, the survey revealed that over one in three Americans aren't aware of the pay gap between black women and white men. On top of that, around 50% of Americans said that they thought obstacles to black women's advancement had been eliminated.

It's absolutely crucial that Americans take these issues into account, one of many reasons being that black women are very often the breadwinners for their families. As Lean In pointed out when discussing survey results on its website, "80% of Black mothers are the main breadwinners for their households." Therefore, the organization added, the dual gender and race-based pay discrimination faced by black women profoundly " ... impacts families’ ability to buy groceries, pay for childcare, invest in their children’s education, and more."

Throughout history, women have always come together together to build momentum, generate buzz and demand change. It inspires me that this is something that's especially true for communities of color, which have been so historically marginalized.

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I've compiled 15 quotes from women of color that inspire me and celebrate what they do for society, how hard they fight and just overall, what incredible badasses they are not just on #BlackWomensEqualPay Day, but every single day:

"I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.” — Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

“I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community." — Janet Mock, Redefining Realness.

"Feminism involves so much more than gender equality and it involves so much more than gender. Feminism must involve consciousness of capitalism (I mean the feminism that I relate to, and there are multiple feminisms, right). So it has to involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post-colonialities, and ability and more genders than we can even imagine and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name." — Angela Davis

"Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination." — Dr. Mae Jemison

“I am passionate about everything in my life — first and foremost, passionate about ideas. And that's a dangerous person to be in this society, not just because I'm a woman, but because it's such a fundamentally anti-intellectual, anti-critical thinking society." — bell hooksReel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies

"Imagine you're a little girl. You're growing up. You practice as hard as you can, with girls, with boys. You have a dream. You fight, you work, you sacrifice to get to this stage. You work as hard as anyone you know. And then you get to this stage, and you're told you're not the same as a boy. Almost as good, but not quite the same. Think how devastating and demoralizing that could be." —Venus Williams

“There are two things I’ve got a right to, and these are, Death or Liberty — one or the other I mean to have. No one will take me back alive; I shall fight for my liberty, and when the time has come for me to go, the Lord will let them, kill me." — Harriet Tubman

“I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.” — Alice WalkerThe Color Purple

"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." — Shirley Chisholm

"Today there are people trying to take away rights that our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought for: our right to vote, our right to choose, affordable quality education, equal pay, access to health care. We the people can't let that happen." - Kerry Washington


"I am in the rare position to be financially successful beyond my imagination. I had talent, I worked like crazy and I was lucky enough to break through. But today isn’t about me, it’s about the other 24 million black women in America. If I never picked up a tennis racket, I would be one of them; that is never lost on me." - Serena Williams

"What are you telling your daughter when she grows up? 'You've got to just understand that you're a girl. You have a vagina. So that's not as valuable.'" —Viola Davis, in a 2016 interview with Mashable

"We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn't a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change." Beyoncé, in The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Pushes Back from the Brink

"If it was just women getting paid less than men then that would just be one thing, but even among women, especially according to race and privilege, there are a lot of women who are getting paid more than even some men are. It's a very complex situation when you think about what are black women making in comparison to white women, what are Latin women making, what are Asian women making in comparison, and it gets even more convoluted." —Rosario Dawson, in a 2015 interview with MTV News

"I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them." — Madam C.J. Walker