Despite being original inhabitants and stewards of this land, Native women have never been compensated for the full value of their labor in the U.S. workforce, and this inequity persists today. In 2022, the most recent data available, Native women working full time, year-round were typically paid only 59 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This gap in pay typically amounts to a loss of $2,396 every month or $28,747 every year. If this gap isn’t closed, a Native woman entering the workforce today stands to lose $1,149,880 over a 40-year career.
As bad as these losses are, the wage gap for full-time, year-round workers doesn’t fully reflect the true economic disparities faced by many Native women. The full-time, year-round wage gap leaves out those Native women who were unemployed or out of the labor force for part of the year, or who worked part time, even if they wanted full-time work. When we include part-time and part-year workers in the comparison, Native women were typically paid only 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in 2022.
Wage gap figures for Native women working full time, year-round vary widely by community. For example, Tohono O’odham women make just 47 cents while Iñupiat women make 89 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. Whatever the wage gap for Native women, losing earnings because of the racist and sexist wage gap has robbed them of the economic security they need to thrive.