Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day Underscores Terrible Toll Wage Gap Takes
Today marks Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day to which the average Native American woman working full-time has to work until her earnings match the average pay for a white man from the previous year. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders earned just 59 cents for every dollar paid to white men last year. For American Indian and Alaska Native women, that number is even lower – just 57 cents on the dollar.
This inequality is disgraceful and hampers the economic success and financial security of Native women, children, families and communities. And unfair pay also hurts our economy. Today, many moms are the primary or only breadwinner for their families and make the majority of purchases for their households. When they are short-changed on their paychecks, they curtail their purchases and weaken our consumer-driven economy.
This day is yet another in a long line of Equal Pay Days that show how women’s wages continue to lag behind men’s. We marked Equal Pay Day for Asian-American women in March, for moms in May, and for Black women in July. Latina Women’s Equal Pay Day will not arrive until November. It is estimated that it will take four decades to close the wage gap. The truth is, we cannot afford to wait that long.
We call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help prevent wage discrimination based on gender, and to pursue a multi-pronged approach to close the wage gap by advancing policies like earned sick days, paid family and medical leave, and affordable child care. We also urge the Trump administration to reverse its recent decision to halt the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s pay data collection that would have helped uncover wage discrimination against women and workers of color. It’s time for our elected leaders to show their support for working families by taking steps to close the wage gap once and for all.
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