On November 30, equality advocates across the country will recognize Native Women’s Equal Pay Day, raising awareness about the ongoing egregious wage gap for Native American women, and taking action to close the gap.
Native American women working full-time year round are paid, on average, 59 cents per $1.00 paid to the average non-Hispanic white man, according to the latest Census Bureau data. Taking into account all Native women earners — including those with part-time and seasonal jobs — the average drops to 55 cents per $1.00, making it one of the worst pay disparities in the United States.
Join Equal Pay Today, Return to the Heart Foundation, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women Protect, Protect the Sacred, and Native Women Lead, along with other organizations and activists across the country, in taking collective action, listed below.
The ongoing impacts of colonialism, genocide, and state-sanctioned violence on Native American communities continues to be felt today. Native people face higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and violence than most Americans.
Recent data shows that the majority of Native American mothers are breadwinners for their families; yet because Native women are paid about half the amount white men are, they face steep barriers to achieving economic security for themselves and their families. Low pay, financial abuse, and the lack of employment protections make it impossible for many Native women to safely leave abusive situations.
Achieving equity for Native women requires heeding the voices and leadership of Native communities, respecting their sovereignty, traditions, and cultural practices, and making new workplace and other economic justice policies — such as equal pay and paid leave — a priority.
Here are 4 easy ways you can take action to support Native women today:
1. Join the social media storm
People across the country will raise awareness for #NativeWomensEqualPay during the social media storm on Thurs. Nov. 30 at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET. You can easily participate on your own social media channels using our toolkit: click here.
2. Learn from Native equality advocates
Watch a recorded conversation about Native Women’s Equal Pay Day featuring Gina Jackson, co-founder and CEO of Return to the Heart Foundation; Allie Redhorse Young, Director & Founder of Protect the Sacred, moderated by Deborah Vagins, Director of Equal Pay Today & National Campaigns Director at Equal Rights Advocates.
Learn about historical and systemic factors contributing to challenges faced by Native women, including impacts of colonization, patriarchy, and economic exploitation.
3. Email Congress
Email your representatives about 3 federal bills that would help advance wage and workplace equality for Native women. Send a pre-drafted email about one, two, or all three of the following bills with just a few clicks:
- The Paycheck Fairness Act: Click here
- Healthy Families Act: Click here
- Guarantees 7 days/year of job-protected sick/safe days for all workers at companies with 15 or more employees
- The FAMILY Act: Click here
- Provides 12 weeks of income for serious health conditions, domestic violence, and more.
4. Donate to the Equal Pay Today campaign
Equal Pay Today organizes days of action with 40 partner organizations across the country. Your donation will help highlight the wage gap for U.S. women, especially women of color, and support solutions via legislation and public policy.