A new US report found that Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women are making an average of US$3,000 less per year than their white male counterparts. If that gap were to stay the same, it would cost those women anywhere from US$120,000 to US$1 million over the course of their careers. More specifically, for AANHPI women, they stand to lose US$120,000 over the next 40 years if this gap isn’t addressed. But for Burmese, Cambodian, Hmong and Nepalese women, these communities can lose around US$1 million throughout their career.
But this doesn’t apply to all Asian communities. The report found that Malaysian, Chinese, Taiwanese and Indian women usually make more than white men.
The report also found that the pandemic, which led to an increase in anti-Asian violence, made the existing inequalities in pay worse. It also made it harder for AANHPI women to get a job, with 38% of unemployed Asian women saying they’ve been searching for a job for at least six months, compared to 25% of white men.
“By focusing just on the top line and not really digging down, we really just make certain communities invisible,” said Gaylynn Burroughs, the director of workplace equality at the National Women’s Law Center. “That harms them because then they can’t be a part of the conversation about what needs to happen in order to help them secure economic opportunities and be able to feel secure.”
“The pandemic really showed the gap in terms of who is counted or who is seen by the data because so many women were forced to reduce their hours or forced out of their jobs,” Burroughs said.