Native Women’s Equal Pay Day is observed on September 8 every year. This day marks the day that Native women need to work until they made what white men made in the previous year. In other words, it takes Native women 21 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months due to the disparity in pay. This is an important issue to highlight and this day brings it to light by spreading awareness about the inequality of pay for women. This holiday encourages us to raise awareness on such a topic and recognize the numerous struggles that women face.
History of Native Women's Equal Pay Day
Wage gaps in terms of gender and race have been around since the beginning of civilization. It wasn’t until the 1860s that the public raised their voice against this disparity in the U.S. under the rallying cry of ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work.’ This was spearheaded by women’s rights activists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who made a case for bridging the wage gap in their newspaper, “The Revolution,” and in speeches such as ‘The Power of the Ballot to Bring Women Equal Pay for Equal Work.’
With the adoption of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, the next significant attempt to fix the disparity on a national level came two decades later. It made it illegal for businesses to pay male and female employees different wages for jobs that require equal ability, effort, and responsibility and performed under identical working conditions. It did, however, allow for a few exceptions, such as compensation packages based on seniority or merit.
When President John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law, he stated that paying men and women different rates for the same work was “an unconscionable practice,” noting that “the average woman worker gets barely 60% of the average wage for men.” A year later, in 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was enacted, making it illegal to make judgments based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
However, gender and race disparity in pay has persisted in society and is larger for certain groups than others. Native women make 60 cents for every dollar made by white men. They have to put in additional 9 months of work to earn what a white man does in a year. This inequality needs to be brought to the forefront and awareness is the first step to it. Hence, September 8 of every year is dedicated to being Native Women’s Equal Pay Day.
Native Women's Equal Pay Day timeline
Women win the right to vote, however, the pay gap persists.
The Equal Pay Act is passed granting equal pay for equal work.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to distinguish pay based on race.
Native women make less than their male counterparts, white women, and substantially less than white men.
Native Women's Equal Pay Day FAQs
Is there an overall gender pay gap?
Yes, in the U.S., on average, women are paid 18% less than men.
Is the disparity the same worldwide?
No, the gender income gap is smaller in middle-income countries.
Is this wage gap only for native women?
No, there is wage disparity when it comes to race, gender, ethnicity, and so on, in many different forms.
How to Observe Native Women's Equal Pay Day
Using social media channels, events, and activities, raise awareness about the disparity in pay for native women. Shine a light on the wage gap and spread the word to educate as many people as possible. You can even start by helping women gain access to education through female-focused scholarships.
Be an ally for equal pay
In your workplace, stand with women and people of color and be an ally for them. Identify if they face any issues in the workplace, and help rally for their rights and fair treatment.
Advocate for equal pay
Support organizations, donate to fundraisers, sign petitions, and try to capture the attention of your local political leaders to bring this issue to their attention. Advocate for equal pay and urge for a call to action.
5 Interesting Facts About The Wage Gap
It adds up
If it wasn’t for the gap, native women would be able to afford 32 more months of childcare every year.
All countries have some form of a wage gap where men are paid more than women.
It gets worse
The gap widens for native women who have more advanced degrees.
It doesn’t show the entire picture
The gender pay gap doesn’t describe discrimination, which is also an area of concern.
It’s getting better
Over the last decade, there has been an increase in awareness, as well as in measures taken to address the issue.
Why Native Women's Equal Pay Day is Important
Awareness is key
To take any action, awareness is the first step. The right people and right organizations will only rectify this disparity once they are aware of the issue faced by native women and this day is the perfect way to do so.
It educates us
There are innumerable issues faced by certain groups of society that we are unaware of. It is through these days and initiatives that those issues come to light and action can be taken to move forward.
Equality is important
To be discriminated against and treated unequally based on race, gender, and ethnicity is, unfortunately, an issue that persists. Everyone deserves to be treated equally and we need to take a stand.
Native Women's Equal Pay Day dates