This year Native Women’s Equal Pay Day is observed on November 30. This day marks the day that Native women need to work through in order to make the same amount made by their white male counterparts during the previous year. In other words, it takes Native women an additional 9 months longer to earn what white men earn in 12 months due to the disparity in pay. This is an important issue to highlight the inequality of pay women experience in our country. This day encourages us to raise awareness on such a topic and recognize the numerous struggles that women face.
President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, noting that paying men and women different rates for the same work was “an unconscionable practice.” A year later, in 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was enacted, making it illegal to make employment-related 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.
Union members are largely protected from these unequal practices, because they have a Collective Bargaining Agreement that ensures they make equal wages for equal work. However, not all women have the protections of a CBA, which in turn affects their ability to make living wages and impacts the economy overall. It is important that we vote for representatives who fight for workers and families, and make sure their rights are being put at the top of the list. If you have not registered to vote yet, please do that today! Make your voice heard.