The pay gap
Native American women are paid less than white men
October 1 was Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day. On average, Native American women are paid 40% less than white men.1
The pay gap by gender and race
Did you know?
Native Americans represent less than 2% of the U.S. population and are made up of hundreds of tribes.3 While the majority of Native American communities live outside of reservations, the small size of this population makes it difficult to receive some of the information needed to effectively close the gap.
How it works
The pay gap starts early
From age 15, Native American girls are paid less than boys the same age—and the gap only grows from there.4
The pay gap by age
Even in the same job, the pay gap persists
On average, Native American women earn less than white men in the same role. For example, Native American women working as janitors and housekeepers earn 43% than white men doing the same job.8
The pay gap by occupation
Why it matters
Imagine losing out on almost a million dollars
The pay gap is not about a single paycheck. Over the course of the average Native American woman’s career, the lost income adds up to almost a million dollars compared to white men.9
Average lost income over a lifetime due to the pay gap
Did you know?
Native Americans face disproportionate rates of poverty and unemployment. The national poverty rate for Native Americans in 2018 was 25.4% compared to 13.1% for all Americans and the unemployment rate for Native Americans was 6.6% compared to 3.9% for all Americans.10
Families are on the frontline
Three in five Native American women (58%) are breadwinners for their families—meaning their household depends on their paycheck.11 When Native American moms are paid less, they have less money for basic family necessities like rent, groceries, and healthcare.
Share of mothers who are breadwinners
The pay gap is just one example of the barriers that Native American women face
The United States’ history of genocide, oppression, and marginalization of Native American people has a lasting impact today: Native American people face higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and health impacts than other groups of people.13 Women and girls are particularly disadvantaged, facing higher rates of violence and less legal protection from the state.14 And right now, Native American people are 3.5 times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than white people in the U.S.15