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It will take two centuries for the gender wage gap to close for Latinas if we do nothing

March 24 marked Equal Pay Day for all women. The day was officially established in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) as a symbolic representation of how far into this year women must work to catch up to what men made in the previous year. Women working full-time, year-round are typically paid just 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. That is just the statistic for women in general, but the gender wage gap is much wider for minority women, especially Latinas. 

Equal Pay Day

Women’s Equal Pay Day marks the day into the year on which it takes for women on average to earn what men did in 2020. (Source: equalpaytoday.org)

The gender wage gap for Latinas in the U.S. 

For Latina women in the U.S., Equal Pay Day is not until October 21 this year, meaning it will take until October 2021 for Latinas to have earned the same amount as white men did in 2020. To put it another way, a Latina woman must work 23 months to earn what white men earn in just 12 months

Latinas account for close to $1 trillion in US buying power, but earn on average only 55 cents to the dollar paid to white, non-hispanic men. Additionally, the pay gap widens for educated Latinas. Latinas are pursuing higher education more than ever before but education does not eliminate the pay gap. In fact, the gap is largest for Latinas with a bachelor’s degree, who earn 37% less than white men on average. 

Latinas Equal Pay Day, gender wage gap

Latinas are among the most adversely affected by the gender pay gap. They are paid just 55 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. (Source: latinaequalpay.org)

All around, Latinas tend to make less than everyone, with Latina Equal Pay Day being the last Equal Pay Day group celebrated each year.

If the gender pay gap does not improve, Latinx women have a lot to lose: $28,036 every year, and $1,121,440 over the course of a 40-year career. To catch up, Latinas in New Jersey and California would have to work until ages 115 and 114 respectively.

In twelve states – Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Washington – Latinas lose more to the wage gap than they are paid in a year.

You might be interested: How Latinas Equal Pay Day 47 percent pay gap hurts big business

The states with the largest lifetime losses due to the wage gap include California ($1,708,160), Connecticut ($1,499,800), Illinois ($1,261,040), Maryland ($1,554,400), Massachusetts ($1,369,000), New Jersey ($1,760,840), Rhode Island ($1,196,360), Texas ($1,389,800), Washington ($1,300, 960), and Washington, D.C. ($1,953,000).

Closing the gap for an equal future 

The gender wage gap has narrowed slightly over time but only by a few pennies over several decades. Currently the average pay for women in general is 82 cents per dollar earned by a man. A decade ago in 2011, that number was 77 cents, and in 1996 when the first Equal Pay Day was established, the number was around 74 cents. If this trend continues, the wage gap will not close for another 38 years or until around 2059.

For Black women the date is over a century away. And for Hispanic women it will be over two centuries before the wage gap closes if we do nothing to change the trend. 

gender wage gap, Latina Equal Pay Day

Join leaders, advocates and influencers across the nation who are pledging to take action as champions of gender parity. (Source: latinaequalpay.org)

The first steps to closing the wage gap is to push for legislative action. The Paycheck Fairness Act is just one of many acts that will take important steps towards the goal of ending pay discrimination. For instance, it will ban employers from seeking salary history — removing a common false justification for under-paying women and people of color — and it will hold employers accountable who engage in systemic discrimination.  The bill will also work to ensure transparency and reporting of disparities in wages, because the problem will never be fixed if workers are kept in the dark about the fact that they are not being paid fairly.  

Raise the Wage Act is another legislative measure that will help close the wage gap in the long run. The Raise the Wage Act of 2021 would increase the minimum wage annually from its current level ($7.25) to $15 by 2025, after which the minimum wage would be indexed to median hourly wage growth. With Latinas overrepresented in low-wage work, the Raise the Wage Act would give 32% of working Latinas a significant raise. 

Resources for more information and further learning on the gender wage gap: 

https://www.latinaequalpay.org/ 

https://www.pay-equity.org/index.html

http://www.equalpaytoday.org/overview-2021

Savings for retirement in a jar

Women pay inequality gap follows them into retirement

If you are a woman in the workplace, you know what “women pay inequality” means: You need to work over 3 more months to earn what your man did last year. Sounds unfair?

Savings for retirement in a jar

According to a report from the White House, full-time working women earn 23% less than their male counterparts. Translated to working days, it equals to approximately 60 business days or three months into each year. Well, as you know, I’m no young chick, and if you are getting near or into your retirement years, the horror doesn’t stop there. If you earn less, you have fewer options to save, with a greater impact in your golden years and into retirement.

In addition, and to make an even gloomier panorama, in all developed countries and most undeveloped ones, women live longer than men. As a group, women outlive men, sometimes as much as 10 years.

In 2011 life expectancy was 78.7 years In the United States, which is slightly below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 80.1. The OECD is an international organization that promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. Their members include the most advance countries in the world and some so-called “emerging” economies such as Chile, Mexico and Turkey.

Men in the USA expect to live an average of 76 years, while women reach 81 in life expectancy. Although the gap has been closing in in recent decades, gender discrepancy is most pronounced in the very old: among centenarians worldwide, women outnumber men nine to one.

So how does a woman who lives to 90 or 95 years old stretch her already meager savings?

A December report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that “the current median in a 401(k) savings account is just about $18,000.” The median retirement income for women in 2010 was just 59 percent that of men, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office..

For many women, gender inequality doesn’t end at the workplace but it follows them into their retirement years. In fact, women are almost twice as likely as men to live below the poverty line during retirement, with single and minority women struggling the most.

In your view, it this fair? What can be done to solve the gap and help women live a decent retirement life?

 

Try this Calculator: Will you have enough to retire?

 

LIFE BELOW THE POVERTY LINE

Population Male poverty rate Female poverty rate
All 65 and older 6.6% 11%
Married 4.7% 4.9%
Widowed 10.1% 14.5%
Divorced 12.2% 17.1%
Separated 10.8% 35.4%
Never married 15.7% 23.2%
White 4.6% 8.6%
Black 13.2% 21.3%
Asian 11.6% 11.9%
Hispanic 19.1% 21.8%

Source: GAO analysis of Census data for 2012

 

Lessons learned from the Women’s March on Washington to move forward

After we marched at the Women’s March on Washington last Saturday, now the big question is what is next? The challenge is to move forward without losing momentum and cohesion. I know we think we can do very little individually but our experience at the Women’s March on Washington proved that we only can move forward when we are there for each other and stand together.

Women;s March on Washington (Photo by Bobbi Pratt)

Women’s March on Washington (Photo by Bobbi Pratt)

As we explained when we launched our trip, our main reason to march was to claim for economic and opportunity equality for Latinas. That is what we do at LatinasinBusiness.us. We empower the Latina working woman to help her break the circle of economic violence that keeps her locked in low paying jobs, lack of opportunity to access key positions of power and decision-making, and the ability to use the enormous pool of talent and leadership that Latinas possess.

Women;s March on Washington (Photo by Bobbi Pratt)

Women;s March on Washington (Photo by Bobbi Pratt)

However, in our journey together with over half million women and men–reported by Associated Press and other media– we learned that there are other very important issues women feel as their priorities and concerns as they face this new Administration.

“We march today for the moral core of this nation, against which our new president is waging a war,” actress America Ferrera told the Washington crowd. “Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. … We are America, and we are here to stay,” reported ABC News.

What were women’s main interests at Women’s March on Washington?

We learned some valuable lessons that might have in them the answers we seek. Yes, we need to capitalize those lessons to build a platform from where actions need to be taken:

  • Women are decided not to go backwards. Too many years of political fight and struggle have allowed women’s right to vote, equal opportunities in the workplace, and the right to choose.

womens march on washignton pink hats

  • Women are defending their reproductive rights, healthcare, and the right to make decisions over their bodies, their healthcare and their pregnancies.
  • Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us and Nelly Reyes, freshie Natural Feminine Care at Women's March on WashingtonWomen are aware of and denouncing the predatory sexual actions of the President. At a time when women are fighting against predatory sexual behavior in the workplace and on campuses all around the country, it is unacceptable for women that those actions are being taken lightly.
  • Women proclaim that diversity and inclusion are the hallmarks of American society. Women believe that acceptance of differences and protecting the vulnerable are the values that make America great.
  • Women feel responsible for future generations, the future of the planet and the moral compass of society. They believe that as mothers and the generators of life, they need to be vigilant against the destruction carried out by power and greed.
  • Women became aware that they only have power when they stand together. The energy and the sense of solidarity we felt at the Women’s March on Washington now need to be translated into real action.

Our trip

We rode with a small but powerful group of very diverse marchers that signed up for the trip sponsored by Freshie Feminine Natural Care and LatinasinBusiness.us. Our group included Latina, Asian, African-American and White women and . There were several religious views including Catholic, Jewish, Episcopalian and even a Pastor from the United Church of Christ. We were straight, gay and trans-women and men. In a small group, we encompassed the remarkable diversity of this country. We have never met each other before but an immediate bond grew fonder as the day went by.

We had very productive discussions on our way up, and we all expressed our fears, our concerns and our willingness to continue the resistance. “Yesterday we mourned, today we march, tomorrow we mobilize” was the poster one of our riders proposed as the group’s slogan.

Tasha Warren holding our slogan sign Women's March on Washington

Tasha Warren holding our slogan sign Women’s March on Washington

A mental health provider, Robin Tobias-Kasowitz said, “It was an invigorating day and I feel so proud to have been a part of it. I’m also glad that you are getting right on it and writing this feature. My main concern, as a Psychotherapist, is the mental condition of the new President, a condition mental health providers are very familiar with. I realize how this knowledge is critical in the process of understanding and dealing with Donald Trump and his behavior,” she said.

She believes the new President suffers from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism,” she proceeded to read from the Mayo Clinic website.

Robin Tobias-Kasowitz (L) and Karen Flannery (R) at Women's March on Washington

Robin Tobias-Kasowitz (L) and Karen Flannery (R) at Women’s March on Washington

Kathy Miller, another rider said, “I do feel all alone but more empowered together. I definitely marched for my mom –had her picture on my poster, for my daughter and future grandchildren. I felt everyone acted with dignity and our group was especially kind and caring. Thanks again for including me so I could say I was there and I wouldn’t have wanted to be there with anyone else!”

Nelly Reyes, founder and CEO of freshie Natural Feminine Care added, ”The Women’s March on Washington was an unbelievable event, not only we felt the energy but also the cohesion and the willingness to mobilize against the harm and the hate this new Administration is announcing with its actions and its actors.”

What can we do better going forward?

Although this was a LatinasinBusiness.us initiative, we only had two Latinas signed up for the trip. We have to work harder with Latinas to help them understand that their rights need to be protected and conquered but only if they show up and participate.

Immigration reform is not the only issue that Latinos feel is a priority. Equal opportunity, equal pay, fair treatment under the law and many other issues are still on the table for Latinas and Latinos. However, our participation is vital to show presence and unity. We still must work on creating the bond that will make us advance our voices.

Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us and Nelly Reyes, freshie Natural Feminine Care at Women's March on Washington

Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us and Nelly Reyes, freshie Natural Feminine Care at Women’s March on Washington

Characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Mayo Clinic website