4 Pillars of Negotiating for Career Success – Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

Black women in the United States who work full-time, year-round are typically paid just 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. Women of color face unique challenges when negotiating, via their white female counterparts. July 31, 2017, is known as #EqualPayDay for black women because that’s how long it takes for them to earn what a non-Hispanic white male earned in 2016. While the reasons that the black women’s gender wage gap persist part of the reason is that they don’t know they should negotiate.

As a black woman I was taught to be grateful, work hard, and keep my head down. My understanding of this tri-fold approach to work was that I’d be rewarded in return. However, I have learned that is not the case. If I don’t ask for what I want in the workplace whether it’s more responsibility, a title change, a raise, or software/equipment to help me add value to the organization, I won’t get it. While black women have continued to graduate from college at higher percentages over the past decades the wage gap has closed as much. The factors related to black women’s wage gap varies and some of it is unexplained. However, there is one thing that black women can do to ensure they are getting compensated at market rate, that’s negotiating strategically while navigating racial and gender norms.

The four pillars of the negotiating for career success are:

1. Prepare and Package

Find out what you should be paid in the market you work in, if in the traditional workforce check out payscale.com or linkedin.com/salary. For freelance rates visit upwork or freelancer.com. These sites are a starting point, it is a power play to verify the rates are realistic and make the value that you will add with peers, preferably non-Hispanic white males, because they earn the most in this country. Once you have the rate that is appropriate for your skill level consider of all the things you’ll need to succeed in the position and package that in with the money you are seeking.

2. Practice makes perfect! 

It can be uncomfortable and emotional to #ask4more especially when you know there can be backlash for this type of request. Black women face unique stereotype suggestions, therefore, be strategic and record audio and visual as practice negotiating. This will allow you to notice behaviors and tones that have stereotypes and thus you can adjust accordingly.

3. Ask for More –   You won’t know until you ask!

The third pillar in the framework is to move past fear, doubt, and what ifs and #ask4more!

4. Decide – but not too quickly!

Finally, once you receive an offer do not just accept. It is rare that the first offer is the best offer.  Ask for a couple of days to think about the offer and only give a verbal acceptance after you have had the chance to review the written offer.

Check out these tips and more on my BCWN Career Conversation Webcast http://youtu.be/vZ4iRXdoovw

Jacqueline Twillie

View posts by Jacqueline Twillie
Jacqueline Twillie holds an M.B.A. in Leadership, is an Amazon Best Selling Author and a career mentor for Levo League + The Black Career Women's Network. Her mission is to get rid of the gender wage gap by working with companies, institutions, millennial female entrepreneurs, and the ambitious millennial woman who is navigating the 9-5. On her downtime, she loves to practice yoga and cook.


  1. Henry JonesApril 6, 2020

    Hello Jacqueline, I am impressed bu your blog. All the four points makes sense. But I’m personally pretty seriously sure about the last pillar which is “Decide- but not quickly”. I have seen many examples in my life about the people who take decisions very quickly and give invitation to the problems.

  2. Database AdministratorDecember 26, 2019

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  3. neiljaksonMay 11, 2018

    I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work.

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