EAST SACRAMENTO — Californians continue to demand that elected officials work on closing the gender wage gap.
Research shows that women earn $0.83 compared to their white male counterparts. However, if you break it down by ethnicity, the earnings for women of color plummet.
Mikaela Baker's green thumb is paying off. She is the owner of a plant shop, Sac City Stems.
Baker knows plants, but navigating the industry is a different story.
"You don't see very many people who look like me in this industry," she said.
She says the hurdles she has experienced include not being taken seriously and securing funding.
A priority for her while balancing books is making sure she's paying employees a livable wage.
"I definitely wanted to make sure that I was taking care of my people because, in turn, they take care of me," Baker said. "I just think it's kind of a no-brainer, honestly."
Black women are paid $0.58 for every dollar their white male counterparts get.
Sep. 21 is Black women's Equal Pay Day. The date is symbolic of how far into the year they must work to be paid what men earned the previous year based on census data.
When asked should a solution come from either the government or the private sector, first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom said the two go hand-in-hand.
"I'm a big believer in the intersection of cultural change and policy change," she said. "I think they're both something we're working on at the government level."
"In terms of the cultural change piece, we have to raise consciousness around these issues of unequal pay," she said.
In 2019, Siebel Newsom launched the initiative Equal Pay CA to promote equal pay resources and conversations while garnering pledges from corporations to find ways to close the pay gap.
The state ranks fourth in the U.S. for narrowing the gap thanks to strong equal pay laws.
"But we do need more employers to be taking proactive steps to identify race and gender wage gaps and take steps to close them," said Jessica Ramey Stender, a Policy Director and Deputy Legal Director with the group, Equal Rights Advocates.
For Baker, the fight to highlight inequities within minority-owned businesses and equal pay is personal.
"I want to raise a daughter that's going to go out in the world and get what she wants and know what she's worth."
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