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We need to talk about the Latina wage gap 

Latinas are not paid fairly. In fact, Latinas have the lowest earnings of any major race or ethnicity and gender group, earning on average, 43% less than white men and 28% less than white women. The Latina wage gap has persisted for far too long and, if we continue to do nothing, it will take up to two centuries to close this gap.

Latinas are a powerhouse population accounting 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. This gap has hardly moved in over 30 years, and the longstanding pay disparities Latinas face have only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. 

Latinas make up just 7% of the overall workforce, but they account for 22% of child-care workers and there are nearly three in 10 Latinas working a front-line job today, but still being underpaid for their work. 

The wage gap for Latinas starts young, too. From age 16, Latinas are paid less than white boys the same age—and the gap continues to grow from there. 

Latina wage gap

The Latina pay gap by age. (Source: leanin.org)

Additionally, the wage gap widens for educated Latinas. Latinas are pursuing higher education more than ever before but education does not eliminate the wage gap. Data found that the gap is in fact largest for Latinas with a bachelor’s degree. 

Despite their higher education these Latinas earn 35% less than white men on average, and even in the same position, Latinas still earn less than white men. Latinas also ask for promotions and raises at similar rates to white men, yet for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 71 Latinas are promoted

Latina wage gap

The pay gap by education level. (Source: leanin.org)

Latinas face both sexism and racism in the workplace, with stereotypes fuling assumptions about Latinas’ work ethic and ambition. Stereotypes painting Latinas as overly domestic create the belief that Latinas are less ambitious in their careers making employers assume they don’t want to or expect to be paid well. 

These stereotypes and unfair biases are harmful and have real lasting consequences on Latinas and their families.  Latina mothers earn 54% less than white fathers, which means less money for basic family necessities like rent, food, school supplies, and impacts the family’s ability to save and invest long term.

Over time, the lost income adds up. According to the data, the average Latina’s career, she will lose over a million dollars compared to white men. 

Average income lost over a lifetime due to the pay gap. (Source: leanin.org)

Steps toward closing the Latina wage gap 

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.

Some steps toward closing the Latina wage gap include supporting legislation and organizations aimed toward eliminating gender wage gaps such as PowHerNY, an inclusive statewide network of individuals and organizations committed to accelerating and securing economic equality for all New York women. 

Another step Latinas can take to combat the wage gap, especially for those in low-wage jobs, is to join a union. According to data, the overall wage gap for union members is 53% smaller than the wage gap for non-members. 

We cannot wait two centuries for the Latina wage gap to close. We need to take action now. 


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/

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