February 22nd marks AAPI Equal Pay Day, where we observe how 2017 pay for Asian American women has finally caught up to that of white men.
Here’s how it works. For every dollar white, non-Hispanic men are paid, Latinas are paid 54¢; black women 63¢; white women 79¢. Data shows that Asian women in the U.S make 85¢ to the dollar, but that’s just the monolithic data stat—the number is actually much wider.
In fact, #NotYourModelMinority was trending Wednesday on Twitter to show that despite the myths that Asians are successful and wealthy, many Asian Americans still face huge pay gaps and high poverty levels.
Disaggregating data matters
Sure, AAUW notes that some Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women are among the highest paid workers. But on the other side of the spectrum, we see that most AAPI communities experience much larger wage gaps in comparison to white women. Vietnamese women earn 62¢ to the dollar, Hmong women 59¢, and Burmese women only 51¢.
Breaking up Asian American data helps us see just how severe this pay gap is. And the data is even more unfavorable for trans individuals.
But it’s more than just about wage
AAPI Equal Pay Day is important, but for it to really make an impact, we have to remember the communities within the larger Asian American “monolith,” lest we make the hardships and inequality our community faces invisible.
Equal pay is not a single issue, but rather speaks to how power is held and valued. And that includes power within certain Asian American communities.