The wage gap between Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and white men has been a long standing issue in the United States, and recent data highlights just how severe the problem is. According to a report from CNBC, an AAPI woman has to work 15 months to earn what a white man makes in one year, based on data from the National Women's Law Center (NWLC).
The report notes that AAPI women are typically paid just 92 cents for every dollar paid to white men, with significant variations across different AAPI communities. For example, Bhutanese women working full-time earn just 48 cents compared to white men. Over time, this inequality compounds, with an AAPI woman starting out in her career projected to lose $267,760 over a 40-year career due to the wage gap, according to NWLC's analysis. For Bhutanese, Burmese, Nepalese, Hmong, and Cambodian women, the losses due to the wage gap range from over $1 million to more than $1.3 million.
There are legal initiatives such as the Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to eliminate pay discrimination and strengthen workplace protections for women, and local pay transparency laws in certain jurisdictions like New York City which require employers to list their minimum and maximum salary ranges on publicized job postings. However, while legislation is crucial in bringing about pay equity, employers can also play a meaningful role in addressing this systemic issue.
By adopting policies and procedures that promote pay equity, employers can help reduce the wage gap and ensure that all employees are compensated fairly for their work. For example, they can conduct regular pay equity audits, provide salary transparency, eliminate biased performance evaluation processes, and provide training on identifying and addressing unconscious bias.
Legal firms such as Outside Legal Counsel LLP have extensive experience in this area and can assist employers in formulating policies and procedures that promote pay equity and eliminate wage discrimination.
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