Virginia Lucy
                  Jimina Afuola             

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) and the National Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) commemorate Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) Equal Pay Day, marking the day when the earnings of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women “catch up” to what white men made the year before. 

On average, NHPI women earn 61 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. This figure includes part-time and seasonal workers, in addition to full-time workers, to more accurately reflect the economic realities of NHPI women. Typically, wage data combines and calculates an average for all Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) women, amounting to 80 cents per white, non-Hispanic male dollar. However, when this data is disaggregated, it reveals that the wage gap is even wider for some AANHPI women. NHPI women in particular face tremendous disparities including stark wage gap inequities depending on the state

“The wage gap we experience as Pasifika women and workers is a single strand in a larger net of economic injustices that limit our ability to care for ourselves, families, and communities. Ensnared in such a wide net of structural inequities, the conversation begins with equal pay but does not end here,” said Estella Owoimaha-Church, Executive Director of EPIC. 

But the impact of the wage gap is not just about the numbers. It is about the real lived experiences of NHPI women. Often, NHPI women act as caretakers for both children and aging family members, and a disproportionate number are employed as essential workers, including 24% of the Native Hawaiian population. The wage gap has exacerbated economic challenges facing the NHPI community even more, meaning NHPI women have less money for childcare, health care, saving and investing, and supporting themselves and their families. 

“The lost wages experienced by Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women plays a critical role in whether they can exercise economic agency and autonomy,” said Isra Pananon Weeks, NAPAWF’s interim Executive Director and Chief of Staff. “NHPI Equal Pay Day is a reminder of the importance of accessing and analyzing disaggregated data when looking at the experiences of AA and NHPI women. The combined data obscures the unique experiences of NHPI women, some of whom experience much wider wage gaps on average, such as Tongan women ($.52), Samoan women ($.61), and Native Hawaiian women ($.61).”   

To learn more about NHPI Equal Pay Day, download EPIC’s NHPI Equal Pay Day Toolkit, visit, and follow #NHPIEqualPayDay on social media. 

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Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) is a pro-Black, pro-Indigenous, anti-racist national organization based on Tongva land that advances social justice by engaging Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders in culture-centered advocacy, leadership development, and research. 

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.