Native Women’s Equal Pay Day, Nov. 30, Highlights Wage Gaps for Native American Women

November 27. 2023

For Immediate Release
Nov 27, 2023

Media Contact
Nazirah Ahmad
[email protected]

Pay gaps for Native American women remain shockingly low and stagnant


SAN FRANCISCO — Equality advocates across the country will recognize Native Women’s Equal Pay Day on Nov. 30, 2023, highlighting income and wealth disparities Native American Women face and policy solutions to close the wage gap. 

Native American Women working full-time year-round are, on average, paid 59 cents per dollar paid to the average non-Hispanic white man, according to the latest Census Bureau data. When considering all earners — including those working part-time jobs, part-year, or seasonal work — the wage gap is greater, at 55 cents, one of the worst income disparities in the United States. If you break it down by Tribal nation, some Native American women are paid even less. 

Native Women’s Equal Pay Day is led by the Equal Pay Today campaign — a project of Equal Rights Advocates, in collaboration with 45 women’s, civil, and workers’ rights organizations and hundreds of activists across the country.  The event is being led by Return to the Heart Foundation, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, Protect the Sacred, and Native Women Lead

The groups are raising awareness about the fact that, due to the long-lasting and devastating impacts of colonialism, genocide, and state-sanctioned violence, Native Women continue to face high rates of poverty, unemployment, and violence. Recent data shows that the majority of Native American mothers are breadwinners for their families; yet with Native women earning about half the amount of non-Hispanic white men, it makes long-term economic security difficult for many families.

Advocates say work toward economic and workplace equality for Native women must involve following the leadership of Native communities, respecting their sovereignty, traditions, and cultural practices, and prioritizing legislation supporting equal pay and paid leave.

“CSVANW recognizes how important it is to uplift the national Native Women’s Equal Pay campaign as 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaskan Native women will be impacted by domestic violence,” said Tiffany Jiron, Interim Executive Director, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. “Many survivors of violence are the life givers, caretakers, and teachers of future generations. Our women and our communities deserve equality!”

“Inequality did not just happen, we were targeted for our land and its resources. Now here we are today fighting for equal pay as one of the many inequalities we face. It’s time for America to fully embrace its values and walk the walk on concepts including all (people) are created equal and strive for liberty and justice for all. Truly making efforts to close gaps on inequality will bring healing to our Nation,” said Gina Jackson (Western Shoshone & Oglala Lakota), Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Return to the Heart Foundation

“We are honored to work with these inspiring leaders to lift up the grave inequities that Native Women face and to work together to advocate for important policy changes,” said Deborah J. Vagins, National Campaign Director & Director of Equal Pay Today with Equal Rights Advocates. “It is outrageous that, on average, Native Women make little more than half of what non-Hispanic, white men take home. The systemic change we call for must address the long-standing impacts of policies that have undermined Native communities’ sovereignty, safety, and economic security.”

“Native women’s leadership keeps our families, communities and nations alive and thriving,” said Vernelle Chase (enrolled Gros-Ventre, Assiniboine and Mandan Descendent) Interim Director and Board chair at Native Women Lead. “At Native Women Lead, we revolutionize outdated systems and inspire innovation by investing in Native women entrepreneurs and leaders. Native women have always led the way, stepping into their responsibility to honor their past, present, and future ancestors through their everyday work. And now more than ever, it is time to recognize Native women’s tireless efforts with equal pay.”

The groups will lead a national social media storm on Native Women’s Equal Pay Day on Nov. 30 at 11:00 am PT/2:00 pm ET to raise awareness about pay disparities and policy solutions. 

There will be a webinar, “The Power of Pay Equity: Investing in Native Women,” featuring experts Return to the Heart Foundation and Protect the Sacred on Nov. 28 at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET. Register for free at  

Experts from the above organizations are available for interviews. To request an interview email [email protected]


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