October 21 is Latina Equal Pay Day, or the approximate day it would take for Latinas to earn what non-Hispanic white men made in just 2020. This means that Latinas had to work almost 22 months, or nearly 10 extra months in 2021, to earn what non-Hispanic white men did in 2020.
According to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)’s analysis of median earnings data from the Census Bureau, working Latinas have a large gender pay gap relative to white men. Latinas working full-time, year-round made 57 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men working full-time, year-round made.
As reported by Business Insider, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) points out in its fact sheet about Latina Equal Pay Day that Latinas “have the lowest earnings of any major race/ethnicity and gender group.”
Median earnings for Latinas working full-time, year-round in 2020 were just $38,718 or $28,911 less than non-Hispanic white men, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement cited by IWPR.
These lost earnings add up over time. NWLC reported that Latinas are losing out on over a million dollars in earnings over a 40-year career as a result of this pay gap. NWLC added that this lost annual earnings could have helped pay for things like 11 months of childcare.
Hard to build wealth
The National Women’s Law Center noted on the Latinas Equal Pay Day the difficulties that this gap represents for families. “These lost earnings not only leave Latinas without a financial cushion to weather the current crisis, but also make it harder for them to build wealth, contributing to the racial wealth gap and barriers to Latinx families’ economic prosperity.”
— equalpaytoday (@EqualPay2dayOrg) October 21, 2021
Latinas low earnings are explained by IWPR as a consequence of job discrimination in both being hired and being promoted and the kinds of sectors Latinas tend to work in.
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“Latinas are overrepresented in women-dominated health care, care work, and cleaning occupations, essential jobs that pay much less than men-dominated occupations at similar levels of training and education,” IWPR wrote.
The president of Executive Women of New Jersey, Ana María Tejada wrote for nj.com about the need to change this situation by promoting positions of leadership among Latinas. “We’ve seen consistent but slow improvements in gender representation between every report, but as more Latinas make inroads into leadership roles, new challenges emerge when climbing the corporate ladder.”
“Workplaces across the country must take action to dismantle internal structures that perpetuate unequal wages and a culture that makes it difficult for women of color to grow professionally,” added Tejada.