Asian American and Pacific Islander Women Demand Equal Pay, Inequities Still Very Much Obscured by the “Model Minority” Myth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2019
Contact: Jennifer Wang
(202) 812-9325 / jwang@napawf.org

In 2018, AAPI women made $0.85 to as low as $0.50 per dollar that white men take home.¹ Today, AAPI women and our allies are demanding equal pay and an end to the discrimination we face as a community, while raising the public’s consciousness about wage gaps faced by specific AAPI communities in particular and the importance of disaggregating AAPI data, by joining together to observe AAPI Women’s Equal Pay Day, hosting more than a dozen local actions across the nation.

National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow issued the following statement about our continued fight to close the wage gap:


“Are AAPI women equal under the law? Our lived experiences and the data show that we are not. AAPI women must work, on average, two extra months for our pay to catch up with the annual pay of white men -- and average wage gaps in several AAPI ethnic subgroups are significantly larger.

“The 'model minority' myth, which views AAPIs as a monolith and assumes that all AAPIs have socioeconomic stability, makes it harder for us to fight the wage gap for the AAPI women who need it the most. Hmong and Cambodian women earn on average only 59 and 62 cents to the white male dollar, respectively. The ‘model minority’ myth furthers the idea that these communities don't need additional resources or support. Those in power, who buy into the myth, have responded by gutting, underfunding, or ignoring lifesaving programs that support us.

“For AAPI women, other women of color, and immigrant women, the inability to become financially independent has ripple effects across all aspects of our lives. Wage gaps make it harder for us to make decisions about if, when, and how to parent, or escape situations of family or domestic violence -- resulting in direct threats to our safety, wellbeing, and agency over our lives and our families. NAPAWF will not rest until AAPI women’s wage gaps cease to exist.”

¹NWLC calculations based on 2017 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates using IPUMS-USA available at https://usa.ipums.org/usa/ (IPUMS). Figures are based on women’s and men’s median earnings for full time, year round workers. The typical white, non-Hispanic man earned $58,000 in 2017. Indian women represent those who self-selected “Asian Indian” as their race.

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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.