Native Women’s Equal Pay Day: Break the Wheel of Oppression
National Organization for Women
Violence. Erasure. Subjugation. Today, we acknowledge the role that the wage gap plays in the many forms of centuries-long oppression of Native American Women.
2019 has marked a year of highs for American Indian and Native Alaskan women, including the election of two Native congresswomen to the U.S. House of Representatives. Yet women are still murdered at ten times the national average in some tribal communities, often at the hands of non-tribal members. Just as shocking, four out of five Indigenous women and girls are victims of violence at some point in their lifetime.
Native Women’s Equal Pay Day
serves as a reminder of the breadth of oppression women in Indian Country face every day. The abuse extends beyond gender differences and is rooted more deeply in the injustices – in the forms of racism and genocide – that Indigenous peoples have been subjected to for hundreds of years. There is so much hurt and hate still inflicted upon Native women that our country neglects to reconcile. The wage gap is just one portion of the atrocities.
On average, Native women are paid only 57 percent of the wages White men receive, compared to the 79 percent White women make. This is a stark reminder that we must advocate for all women, especially those from Indian Country, in our effort to close the wage gap. The patriarchy, White supremacy, and systemic racism must all be dismantled in feminist efforts to achieve equity.
Our activism only improves if we focus on the intersectionality of women’s identities. Today, we pay special attention to American Indian and Native Alaskan women in our advocacy for their safety, visibility and equality.
Toni Van Pelt, a longtime feminist and humanist activist, was elected president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in July 2017, taking office in August of that year. She is also president of the NOW Foundation and chairwoman of the NOW Political Action Committee and serves as the principal spokeswoman for all three entities. Van Pelt oversees NOW’s multi-issue agenda, which includes: achieving constitutional equality for women, advancing reproductive rights and justice, promoting racial justice, stopping violence against women, winning civil and human rights for the LGBTQIA+ community, and ensuring economic justice.
Victoria Steele is Democratic member of the Arizona State Senate representing District 9 since January 14, 2019. She is a twice elected former Democratic member of the Arizona House of Representatives, serving from 2013 to 2016. She describes herself as "a life-long feminist" and enjoyed a 25-year career in radio and television news. She is Seneca and Mingo. She serves on the board of the National Organization for Women.
Native Women's Equal Pay Day - September 23, 2019
Native Women earn approximately $.58 cents on the dollar of White, non-Hispanic men (based on 2016 data). September 23, Native Women’s Equal Pay Day is the day Native women must work into the new year to make what White men made at the end of last year.
And on September 23rd, join Native Women on social — Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram — at 2:00 pm ET/1:00 pm CT/12:00 pm MT/11:00 am PT using #NativeWomensEqualPay to #DemandMore #Equity for Native Women at work, in society, and at the ballot box.
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