September 23, Native Women’s Equal Pay Day, marks the day on the 2019 calendar when Native American women will have earned the same amount that white men earned at the end of 2018 for the same work.
Native women are, on average, paid 58 cents to every dollar of their white, male counterparts. Not only does the wage gap for Native women exist across occupations, it actually widens with higher education levels.
Ultimately, this pay inequity reflects the systemic oppression and erasure that Native Americans continue to face every day. The 116th Congress (the current Congress, elected in 2018) is the very first Congress in which Native women were elected to office (Reps. Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids), simultaneously representing long-overdue progress and a stark reminder of the lack of representation and diminished platform that’s been historically afforded to indigenous and Native women in our country.
Raising awareness today is part of our ongoing mission at AnitaB.org to further intersection gender and pay equity within the tech industry. On April 2, in Equal Pay is Not Enough to Move Us to Equity, Brenda Darden Wilkerson, President and CEO of AnitaB.org shared bold questions that progressive workplaces should be unafraid to ask, if seeking real truths. On August 22, AnitaB.org drove awareness to Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the point in the year at which a black woman working full time in the U.S. have earned the equivalent of her white, male counterpart in 2018 for the same work. (And, Latina/Hispanic women will not have earned the equivalent of their male counterparts for the same work in 2018 until November 20, 2019.)
Why It Matters
Closing the wage gap is crucial for the wellbeing of Native women and their families. Financial barriers affect access to healthcare and the ability to provide basic family needs. A 2017 study showed more than one in four Native children lived in poverty. Jobs in information technology are a key opportunity sector, with a growing number good, middle-skill jobs that can provide economic security for women and their families.
It’s time to stand against pay inequity and discrimination. There are many ways you can promote the equal pay of Native women, such as voting for equity-based legislation, supporting Native leadership, and inviting Native women to the table when making policy decisions.
Please join AnitaB.org and other supporters in a Tweet Storm to raise awareness of this issue. Use the hashtags #NativeWomensEqualPay and #DemandMore at 2 p.m. ET on September 23.
We hope you will help us in our fight to create a future where all women are valued for their work and contributions.