May 3 marks Equal Pay Day for Asian-American and Pacific Islander women, which signifies how far AAPI women must work to catch up with what white men earned in the previous year.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, Asian American and Pacific Islander women working full-time in the United States are generally paid $0.95 for every dollar paid to white men. But Jasmine Tucker, NWLC’s research director, told CNBC Make It that the $0.95 figure doesn’t reflect the true pay gap given the “mass cuts in low-paying jobs” in 2020, the most recent year for which data are available.
The NWLC calculated the wage gap between AAPI women and white men, regardless of the number of hours worked, to more accurately capture the setbacks and job losses experienced by AAPI women in part-time or Seasonal workers faced throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and found that AAPI women earned just 75 cents, on average, for every dollar paid to a white man in 2020.
AAPI women are overrepresented in front-line and low-wage jobs, making up around 3.8% of the front-line workforce despite making up just 2.9% of the workforce overall, with many of these women being paid less than their white male counterparts. in the same professions, according to the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.
In addition to this ongoing wage gap, AAPI women continue to face an increase in racialized violence and harassment due to racist rhetoric and xenophobia surrounding the Covid-19 virus.
The racism and harassment that AAPI women face in the workplace, like other women of color, “prevents them from achieving equal pay and, without feeling safe or supported, from realizing their full potential. potential at work,” Tucker notes.
It is also important to note that the pay gap varies significantly between women from different AAPI communities.
AAPI women working full-time, full-year stand to lose $120,000 over a 40-year career, according to the NWLC, but women from different AAPI communities experience much greater wage losses over time : On average, Burmese women lose $1.2 million, Nepalese women lose more than $1.1 million, and Hmong and Cambodian women lose nearly $1 million due to the gender pay gap. course of their life.
“Some AAPI women come from countries where women do not have access to higher education, which prevents them from accessing higher paying jobs, or they can only afford to live in certain areas of the United States. with limited access to higher-paying jobs,” Tucker explains. As a result, she adds, many AAPI women are pushed into lower-paying jobs in the retail, restaurant and care industries. personnel – areas that have been hardest hit by pandemic-related job losses.
At its peak, the unemployment rate for Asian women aged 20 and older reached 16.4% in May 2020, reports NAPAWF. According to the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number has fallen to 2.6%.
Some AAPI women, however, are still losing income: A recent NWLC survey of AAPI women who lost jobs during the pandemic found that less than half (47%) of women found new employment.
The ongoing pandemic is not only threatening to widen the wage gap that AAPI women face – it is also impacting the financial well-being of their families.
Yvonne Hsu, head of policy and government affairs at NAPAWF, said in a statement that there are millions of Asian American mothers living in multigenerational households who “bear the brunt of care not just for their children. , but for elderly parents and the elderly”. family members too.
She continued, “Most often they are also the breadwinners…and to make up for lost wages, AANHPI women have no choice but to work longer hours and multiple jobs that often don’t provide paid medical or family leave. These are women who will never ‘catch up’ to their white male counterparts.”
AAPI women have the smallest pay gap, but this statistic ‘masks’ large economic disparities, experts say
How the pandemic has widened the pay gap for low-wage workers and women of color
How the model minority myth is keeping Asian Americans at work and what companies should do
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