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The Native American Women’s Pay Gap by the Numbers

September 23, 2019, was Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day. That means Native American women had to work all of 2018 and until that day in 2019 to catch up with what white men were paid in 2018 alone. Regardless of their occupation, level of education, or location, Native American women are still paid less than white men.2 Get the facts about the pay gap and its impact on Native American women and their families.

On average, Native American women in the U.S. are paid 42% less than white men.3

The pay gap varies by tribe.

If you break it down by tribe, some Native American women are paid even less.4

The pay gap starts early.

From age 15 onward, Native American girls are paid less than boys the same age—and the gap only widens from there.5

Any way you look at it, there’s a pay gap for Native American women.

Even when you control for factors like level of education, experience, and location, the pay gap still exists.6 And the gap is largest for Native American women who have bachelor’s and master’s degrees.7

Native American women and men in the same roles as white men receive different pay.9

Native American women earn less, on average, regardless of which occupation.

The pay gap hurts women and families.

Lower earnings for Native American women mean less money for their families, especially since two thirds of Native American mothers are the main breadwinners for their households. This impacts families’ ability to buy groceries, pay for childcare, invest in their children’s education, and more.8

If paid fairly, the typical native american woman would… ... earn almost $1 million more over the course of her career.10

If paid fairly, the typical native american woman would… ... afford nearly 32 more months of child care.11

If paid fairly, the typical native american woman would… ... afford more than two and a half additional years of tuition and fees for a four-year public university.12

Native American women are paid less, on average, than white men for similar work. This is another example of the systemic barriers, biases, and mistreatment they face every day. Today is a stark reminder that we need to do more, as individuals and as a country, to support Native American women.

—Rachel Thomas, co-founder and CEO of LeanIn.Org

Footnotes

  1. Meika Berlan and Morgan Harwood, “Workplace Justice: Equal Pay For Native Women,” National Women’s Law Center,” https://nwlc-ciw49tixgw5lbab.stackpathdns.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Equal-Pay-for-Native-Women-2018-3.pdf">
  2. Ibid.
  3. National Partnership for Women & Families, “America’s Women and the Wage Gap,” May 2019, http://www.nationalpartnership.org/our-work/resources/workplace/fair-pay/americas-women-and-the-wage-gap.pdf.
  4. Berlan and Harwood, “Equal Pay For Native Women.”
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. National Partnership for Women & Families, “America’s Women and the Wage Gap,” May 2019, http://www.nationalpartnership.org/our-work/resources/workplace/fair-pay/americas-women-and-the-wage-gap.pdf
  9. Meika Berlan and Morgan Harwood, “Workplace Justice: Equal Pay For Native Women.”
  10. National Women’s Law Center, “The Lifetime Wage Gap by State for Native Women,” March 2019, https://nwlc.org/resources/the-lifetime-wage-gap-by-state-for-native-women.
  11. National Partnership for Women & Families, “Quantifying America’s Gender Wage Gap by Race/Ethnicity,” April 2019, http://www.nationalpartnership.org/our-work/resources/workplace/fair-pay/quantifying-americas-gender-wage-gap.pdf.
  12. Ibid.