Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders Women Equal Pay Day 2024

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders Women Equal Pay Day 2024

Written by Molly Devine

DEI ObservancesEqual Pay Day

It is early April, and as a Midwesterner from the United States, I smile because I love spring, my favorite season. Spring fills me with joy as I smell rain in the air or watch the early bloom of leafy trees and flowers emerging from the bleak landscape of winter. It reminds me to put my snow boots and sweaters back into storage to be replaced by sandals and T-shirts.

What I have never thought about in Spring, however, is pay equality and the disparity facing communities. It is April, after all. Surely, four months into the year, women and men should be on an equal pay scale, but that is not the case for AANHPI women. 

For those unfamiliar with the acronym, AANHPI stands for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders. Today, April 3, over four months into the new year, we “celebrate” AANHPI Equal Pay Day. The term “celebrate” isn’t right here because we shouldn’t celebrate the fact that women are paid less dollar for dollar than their male counterparts. 

I recently read a quote from Lakshmi Balachandra, Entrepreneurship Professor, Negotiation and Gender Expert, where she said, “A woman is a human. She is not better, wiser, stronger, more intelligent, or more responsible than a man. Likewise, she is never less. Equality is a given. A woman is human.” I want to repeat the third sentence, “She is never less.” 

If a woman is never less, why are women, on average, still making less than men in 2024? Women are human. They are talented, smart, and strong. They are equally deserving of fair wages.

Despite this fact, data from the 2022 Census shares that AANHPI women working full time are making 94 cents for evey one dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts. The disparity grows further to 80 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic males when you account for part-time, part-year, contracted, or freelance workers. A statistical truth that shouldn’t be. 

While I don’t want to “celebrate” pay disparity, I am grateful to work for an organization that is actively combating discrimination based on gender. At Women Who Code (WWCode), we are on a mission to empower women in tech careers. 

According to Built In, “Women of marginalized groups struggle to break into computing-related roles.” In fact, Built In further shares that only 7% of computing-related roles are held by Asian and Pacific Islander women. Women earning STEM degrees and trying to break into STEM careers remain low. Lack of representation, increased harassment, lowered confidence, and, of course, lower pay all play a role, but there is hope for the future. Below are a few ways to make a difference concerning pay disparity:

  1. Transparency and Accountability: Don’t be afraid to share your wages with colleagues and friends. You can also encourage your workplace to implement transparent pay practices and conduct regular pay audits to identify and address disparities.
  2. Advocate for Equal Pay Policies: You can collaborate with advocacy groups and policymakers to advocate for systemic change concerning pay equity. Speak with local and federal politicians, write a letter, or call. This can help strengthen and enforce existing laws and create avenues for new legislation. 
  3. Salary Negotiation Training: You can be your best advocate. Learn how to negotiate for the pay you deserve. Further, encourage your employer to take action and provide training. mentorship opportunities, and resources that educate employees on best practices in negotiating. One of my favorite WWCode trainings is “Take the Stress Out of Negotiations.”

Today is AANHPI Equal Pay Day, but with accountability, advocacy and training, these equal pay days may become a thing of the past, replaced by true celebrations honoring pay equality in the workplace.  

Learn more about Molly, Development Events & Grant Manager at Women Who Code, and connect via LinkedIn.