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September 23, 2019

Ms. Foundation for Women on Native Women’s Equal‌ ‌Pay‌ ‌Day‌ 

Ms. Foundation for Women on Native Women’s Equal‌ ‌Pay‌ ‌Day‌ 

NEW YORK (September 23, 2019) – Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger released the following statement on Native Women’s Equal Pay Day:

“From prior board members like Wilma Mankiller, former Chief of the Cherokee Nation, and Lynn Malerba, Chief of the Mohegan Tribe, the Ms. Foundation for Women has long supported the voices of Native women and intentionally included them in our leadership. With an administration that blatantly disrespects and continuously attacks the Indian Nations, indigenous women are being called upon to safeguard their communities. Though we look to their leadership, Native women are still undervalued in 2019. 

“Today, we acknowledge Native Women’s Equal Pay Day. Native American women earn 58 cents to every dollar earned by their white male counterparts, and this day represents the nine months, three weeks, and one day that Native women have to work into the new year to earn what the average white man earned the previous year.

“Women of color experience pay inequality at disproportionate rates, with Native women earning less than the majority of their female counterparts. Black women earn 61 cents, white women earn 77 cents, and Asian women earn 85 cents on the dollar of the average white man. In April, we celebrated Equal Pay Day for all women, yet, it is not until nearly ten months into 2019 that Native women have reached this equity benchmark. 

“After centuries of colonization and oppression on their own land, it is imperative that Native women are included in the fight for gender and racial equity for all. Beyond economic discrimination, Native women face numerous challenges, such as a lack of access to healthcare, poor economic drivers, and a crisis of murdered and missing indigenous women that has gone largely unaddressed by the rest of the country. 

“Despite this institutional and systemic violence and discrimination, Native women are uplifting their communities and fighting for justice. They were on the frontlines of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, braving harsh weather conditions, state-sanctioned brutality, and arrest. Ruth Buffalo, a Native American woman in North Dakota, defeated a four-time incumbent in a state legislature race, and for the first time ever, two Native American women, Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, are serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

“The strides that Native Americans, and Native women, are making are crucial to achieving equality. The Ms. Foundation and our grantee partners are dedicated to fighting the injustices they face.” 

Ms. Foundation spokespeople are available for interviews by phone or in-person from NYC. To schedule, please contact Sunshine Sachs at [email protected].


For over 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in, and strengthens the capacity of women led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in the lives of women. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world in which the worth and dignity of every person are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.