AANHPI women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by white men, with significant wage drops, as low as 49 cents, for specific ethnic groups

For Immediate Release: April 3, 2024
Contact: Virginia Lucy, media@napawf.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) marks April 3 as AANHPI Equal Pay Day – it takes Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) women 459 days to “catch up” – an extra 93 days — to what white, non-Hispanic men earn in 365 days. AANHPI women, on average, earn only 80 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. 

However, the wage gap expands even further for certain ethnic subgroups, including Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI), Southeast Asian, and South Asian women. Thai and Vietnamese women, in particular, earn 63 and 59 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by white men. And among all ethnic groups surveyed, the wage gap is the widest for Burmese women earning 52 cents, Nepalese women earning 51 cents, and Bangladeshi women who earn as little as 49 cents.

“AANHPI women will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over a 40-year career, with some losing more than $1 million over their lifetime due to the wage gap,” said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, NAPAWF’s executive director. “AANHPI women deserve to live and work with dignity, raise and provide for their families, and make decisions that allow them to thrive.” 

Equal Pay Day shatters the “model minority” myth and stereotype that AANHPI communities are well-off and financially secure. The wage gap is drastically different for each community and AANHPI women’s work is undervalued and underpaid. AANHPI women are overrepresented in the most poorly paid jobs in the country, frequently taking on frontline and low-wage jobs in the retail, restaurant, and personal care economy.

“Disaggregated data always reveals a deeper story and the economic realities experienced by AANHPI women are not clearly visible when you look at the averages,” said Choimorrow. “Millions of working AANHPI women are both caregivers and breadwinners for their families, forced to work longer hours or multiple jobs to make up for lost wages. The pay gap makes it that much more difficult to care for their families, and to set themselves and their families up to thrive, both emotionally and economically.”

Data equity from federal agencies such as the Census Bureau is critical to addressing the health and economic needs of AANHPI women and girls. In addition, addressing the wage gap underscores the need for paycheck transparency policies, paid leave, and extra childcare support, as part of a larger comprehensive approach to addressing economic inequality and discrimination in the workplace.

Wage gap calculations for AANHPI Women’s “Equal Pay Day” include all workers, regardless of hours worked, including full, part-time, and seasonal workers.  

Join NAPAWF for a social media storm today at 2PM ET/11AM PT to raise awareness on how the wage gap impacts AANHPI women and girls. 

For more information on 2024 AANHPI Equal Pay Day, visit: https://www.napawf.org/equalpay

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The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.