Native American Heritage Month not only serves as a time to celebrate the rich legacy of indigenous peoples but it also reminds us of the work that needs to be done to achieve pay equity.
Native women earn approximately 51 cents per dollar paid to non-Hispanic white men. Native women must work until November 30 to make the same amount made by a white man in 2021.
Not only does the wage gap for Native women affect annual income but it has an impact on a lifetime of earnings. The wage gap will cost a Native woman over $1.1 million over the course of a 40-year career, according to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).
The IAM continues to fight for fair contracts that eliminate pay disparities as it’s well documented that the best way to ensure equal pay and to narrow the wage gap is through a union contract.
“Our Native American sisters shouldn’t wait until November 30 to receive the same as their white male counterparts,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Unions, like the IAM, are the equalizers that guarantee equal pay for equal work. We will continue to fight to ensure that our union contracts provide transparency and eliminate wage discrimination.”
Wage gaps must be understood through an intersectional lens, but awareness is only the first step – active allyship, advocacy, and structural change are needed to build true equality for Native women across the nation.