November 30, 2022

EWNJ’s Statement on Native Women’s Equal Pay Day

Today, November 30—on the last day of Native American Heritage Month, we observe Native Women’s Equal Pay Day. The day spotlights the alarming fact that Native women make $0.51 for every dollar a white male makes, down from $0.60 last year, placing them among the lowest paid among women. More troubling, this year’s observance falls over two months later than last year’s, meaning the wage gap has grown dramatically in 2022. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the wage gap robs Native women of more than $1.1 million over a 40-year career. This is in part because Native women, and women of color in general, are often left out of decision-making and underrepresented at the bargaining table, perpetuating structural disparities in pay and promotions.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not start reporting the American Indian and Alaska Native employment data until 2022, and the numbers are eye-opening. Despite a relatively stable overall unemployment rate, Indigenous people are being left behind in large numbers. While the nation’s unemployment rate in January was 4.4%, the unemployment rate among Native American workers was an extraordinarily high 11.1% and as high as 28.6% during the height of the pandemic. Additionally, according to Equal Rights Advocates, Native women have less job mobility and were slower to be rehired back at their old jobs in the wake of the pandemic.

For years, Executive Women of New Jersey has kept gender equality in the public conversation and championed equity, inclusion, and belonging in senior corporate leadership. Our A Seat at the Table research proves that the presence of women on corporate boards leads to stronger financial performance and fewer governance-related issues. And when women fill these management roles, they are more likely to sponsor and mentor future women leaders, creating a leadership pipeline within companies and ensuring an inclusive and representative business culture. Join us in Newark, NJ, on December 7 for our final Executive Dinner Series event to learn how you can get involved in this important work.