It’s hard to address a problem until there is recognition that one exists. Even today in 2017, although a pay gap still exists, not everyone sees it. It has been over 20 years since the National Committee on Pay Equity coalition whose mission is to “close the wage gap that exists between men and women as well as people of color” established “Equal Pay Day”, and pay disparities still remain, especially for black women who are paid an astonishing 37 percent less than white men.
SurveyMonkey board member, Serena Williams, is committed to breaking down this barrier, and we share her goal. In recognition of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, we partnered on a survey to find out what Americans think about the wage gap. Read more about the results and make sure to check out Serena’s byline on Fortune.com.
Seeing the problem
While majorities say that the pay gap is real for both women and minorities, higher shares of black women perceive a gap with nearly seven in 10 black women saying whites earn more for doing the same work. The difference for white men is stark: 50 percent of white men say pay disparities between whites and minorities don’t exist, saying that whites and minorities, “make about the same amount” for doing the same job. Black women and black men are much less likely to say the same (23 percent among black women, 28 percent for black men).1
Obstacles in the way
Black workers also see more obstacles to racial equality. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of black workers say there are still big hurdles that hold back minorities and this ticks up to 76 percent among black women, much higher than the 42 percent of whites who say the same.2
When it comes to impediments to gender equality, black and white women are on the same page, 64 percent of black women and 60 percent of white women say that obstacles remain, nearly double the share of men who say the same (38 percent).2
Hindrances in rising to the top
Overall, only 25 percent of women (24 percent among black women) believe that both sexes have the same opportunities today to be promoted to top positions in the workplace. If you ask men, 44 percent think both sexes have the same chances to get ahead. When it comes to black women, specifically Millennials, they have a surprisingly similar opinion to men overall; 43 percent believe men and women have equal opportunities for promotion.1 Perhaps this is a sign of a turning of the tide and the youngest group is also the most hopeful that things will change.
1This SurveyMonkey Women’s Equal Pay survey was conducted online May 15-22, 2017 among a national sample of 7,287 adults ages 18 and up. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 2 percentage points. The overall results and demographic breakdowns can be viewed here.
2This SurveyMonkey/Fortune online survey was conducted July 3-12, 2017 among a national sample of 13,331 adults ages 18 and up, including 6,349 people working full-time or part-time. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.