Asian American & Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day
Asian women working full-time are paid, on average, 90 cents for every dollar paid to their White male counterparts. However, when the data is disaggregated, it shows that many AAPI women experience significantly larger wage gaps, especially Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander women.
The pay gap costs AAPI women almost a quarter of a million dollars over the course of an average 40-year career.
A Pew Research Center report indicates that more than 1 in 4 Asian Americans (26 percent) live in multigenerational households, compared to just 19 percent of U.S. households overall. Bhutanese people (53 percent), Cambodians (41 percent) and Laotians (38 percent) are particularly likely to live in multigenerational families, which means family incomes, including women’s wages, support more people. According to another report “Breadwinner Mothers by Race/Ethnicity and State” (Anderson, J. 2016), nearly 45 percent of Asian
American mothers bring in 40 percent or more of their families’ income. This means that the wage gap impacts their entire households which rely heavily on their wages to make ends meet and build economic stability.
Policy change is a vital need for families struggling due to these inequities. Legislators must offer support through laws that promote fair pay, address workplace discrimination and harassment, and ensure the economic security of working families.
When broken down racially, White women’s pay gap remained unchanged at $0.79 for every dollar earned by White men, while Asian women’s pay gap widened from $0.90 to $0.87, according to an analysis from the National Women’s Law Center.
Asian-American and Pacific Islander women face a “double pay penalty for their race and gender,” EPI wrote. “Further, Asian American women can’t just educate their way out of the pay gap,” the EPI added. “Asian American women have higher levels of education than white men, and when comparing wages of workers with the same level of education, the disparities are much larger.”
The 5.9% unemployment rate among the roughly 10 million-strong Asian workforce in December was below the national rate. But in the final three months of 2020, almost half of jobless Asians had been out of work for at least 27 weeks — a bigger share than White, Black or Hispanic Americans.
Forty-four percent of unemployed Asian American women have been jobless long-term, a trend experts say is due to the sectors they work in, family and cultural dynamics.
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