SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A group of leaders in Native American communities met with California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom on Tuesday to bring attention to the wage gap between Native American women and their white male counterparts.
Across America, women make about 83 cents for every dollar a man makes. However, for women of color, the disparity is even greater, with Native American women earning as little as 50 cents per dollar paid to a white male counterpart.
“I do not think all people in leadership are bad people, but I do think a lot of people are ignorant of the obstacles and the path towards achieving parity that women and particularly Native American communities face,” Siebel Newsom said to FOX 40 News.
The discussion between Native American women leaders and Siebel Newsom was focused on pay equity and other priorities, including education, health, and economic empowerment, and was hosted by the Enterprise Rancheria Tribe, owners of the Hard Rock Hotel in Yuba County.
Chairwoman Glenda Nelson says that within the Rancheria’s own operations they do surveys to ensure female employees are being paid equitably.
“We make sure to identify how we can empower them and help them achieve,” said Nelson.
Nelson added that part of achieving pay parity is making sure women know and advocate for their worth, even when taking on community-based or non-profit roles that involve helping others.
“Sometimes as women, we feel like we shouldn’t get paid, like it’s our duty to be those type of people… they just sometimes don’t have that self-worth about them and we have to get over that, we have to get better with it.”
California is making some progress on the issue, having one of the lowest gender pay gaps in the country and state laws pushing for parity and transparency.
Still, women in the Golden State make about 88 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make, something that Siebel Newsom says is a reason to continue to work on the issue.
“We have work to do to continue to educate the public, not just around their rights but their responsibilities to pay people equitably,” Siebel Newsom said.
She is encouraging private companies to sign onto the state’s ‘equal pay pledge.’ So far, at least 60 companies have taken the pledge, which includes analyzing a company’s payroll to identify inequities and potential biases and barriers to equal pay.