Carter G. Woodson is known as the “father of Black history”— and for good reason. A historian and president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASAHL), Woodson is credited with being the impetus behind Black History Month — initially celebrated as Negro History Week in 1926.

He envisioned the weeklong commemoration as an opportunity to encourage teachers to educate students about Black history. It was an idea that caught on in the 1960s and became a month-long celebration in February of the many contributions and tribulations that Black Americans can point to over the past century. 

In addition to Black History Month, February also celebrates other important related events — like Rosa Parks Day on Feb. 4. Rosa Parks is an iconic heroine of the Black Civil Rights movement known for her refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a White passenger. 

What followed was a months-long boycott of the bus system organized by African American leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr. The California State Legislature created and first celebrated Rosa Parks Day in 2000, celebrating it on her birth date; Ohio and Oregon celebrate on Dec. 1, the date of her arrest.

In 2024 the theme of Black History Month is “African Americans and the Arts,” celebrating African American’s impact in “visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression.”

Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become an important area of focus in most organizations today, as companies have recognized the value that a diverse workforce can bring in terms of innovation, and overall business success. 

But beyond diversity, they have also recognized the need to ensure that diverse team members are valued, have an opportunity for their voices to be heard, and are treated equitably. DEI initiatives in organizations are critical in fostering a more innovative and positive environment. And despite recent pushback over DEI initiatives at organizations, a Conference Board survey found that no CHROs plan to scale back DEI initiatives, programs, and policies in 2024, while 63% plan to focus on attracting a more diverse workforce. 

Black History Month in the workplace is an opportunity to celebrate diversity and recognize the many contributions of Black Americans and how those contributions have shaped, and continue to shape, our society. 

The Importance of Pay Equity

Pay equity is an important aspect of DEI goals. Achieving pay equity at your organization ensures that employees will receive equal pay for equal work, regardless of their race, gender, or other protected characteristics. 

Data from WorldatWork indicates an increasing number of organizations are working toward the goal of achieving pay equity, as 70% of those surveyed said they took action on pay equity in 2022, which was up 10% from 2019.  

Data from the Economic Policy Institute, however, underscores that there is still plenty of progress that has yet to be made when it comes to pay disparities between Black employees and their White counterparts.  

This Black History Month, we are reminded of the importance of fair compensation and the need to work toward achieving pay equity for Black employees. Recognizing the historical contributions of Black individuals can serve as a catalyst for addressing pay disparities and promoting diversity and inclusion. 

Additionally, it’s an opportunity for all organizations to review their own pay practices to ensure that they are equitable and fair. Pay equity software solutions can help automate this process — not only to audit current pay practices, but also to ensure that those pay practices remain equitable.  

Achieve Pay Equity with Technology 

Pay equity software can help organizations identify, analyze, and rectify pay disparities. Trusaic’s PayParity, for instance, conducts a pay equity audit at the intersection of factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, age, and more. 

These pay equity analysis tools can help organizations understand the root causes of pay disparities, ensure compliance with pay equity legislation, and understand the implications of EEOC Title VII in relation to employer liability and pay. 

By leveraging this technology, organizations can make significant strides toward achieving their DEI goals and ensuring fair compensation for all employees, including Black employees, which helps foster a more equitable world. 

Achieve Pay Equity