Latinas and the gender pay gap
As a woman and as a Latina, I believe fighting for equality is not only our duty, but also our right. Women have made and continue to make amazing contributions to the world. Our rich diversity as humans from different backgrounds influences the way we experience the world and brings immense value to our roles in the workforce. And for this, we should be compensated fairly but the gender pay gap is preventing this.
The gender pay gap is how the difference between the average earnings of men and women is measured in the workforce. A gap exists at all levels in the workforce, in almost all occupations, every state and across all levels of education, ages and demographics, but it increases significantly for women of color.
Does the gender wage gap really exist? And why is there a gender wage gap?
Mostly, the problem is systemic. For generations, society's perceptions of the value of women’s work versus the value of the work done by men has influenced the pay women receive. These perceptions may be conscious or unconscious, but they seemed to have ruled the way women are paid for decades and generations.
Also, society’s perception has been that women are the ones who should not work, or if they do, they should do so in areas related to childcare or other jobs where the role is taking care of others. This has also influenced the pay in jobs society sees as “women’s work”, as well as the pay women receive in general.
This gap only increases for women of color and those with intersectional identities.
What is the financial impact on Latinas?
Hispanic women are typically paid 49 cents of every dollar paid to white non-Hispanic men2. What’s more incredible is that at this rate with the Latina pay gap, Latinas won’t reach equal pay until the year 22063.
Another staggering statistic in a 2022 report by the National Women’s Law Center shows that Latinas were paid $0.57 for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in 2020, which translates into $2,409 typical monthly losses, $28,911 typical annual losses, and a total of $1,156,440 typical losses over a 40-year career4.
This means that, no matter how hard we work throughout our lives, as Latinas we won’t see equal and fair pay.
What can we do as a society?
The best way to fight the gender wage gap is through organizations committed to accelerating economic equality for women. And, as Latinas, we should support these organizations. Next, we should also support legislation created to close this gap, as well as advocate for fair and equal practices in the workforce.
What can we do individually?
As women, we know we work hard for ourselves and our families. So, what can we do to help protect ourselves and forge a path towards financial security? Here are a few tips:
- Make financial planning a priority
No matter the amount we earn, planning will help us accomplish our financial goals. Having a plan can be a much-needed step to make dreams a reality. Also, it’s a good idea to seek financial advice tailored for Latinas or minorities to help us take the step to develop a plan that fits our needs. Not sure where to start? Here’s a very helpful resource: Financial planning: helping you see the big picture.
- Set up a budget
We should make sure we know what we make and where our money goes. Setting priorities for our money will remind us of our financial goals. It’s also important to prioritize an emergency fund, as well as savings to fund personal goals and retirement. This can make all the difference in unexpected situations. Here’s an easy-to-use tool that can help: Savings Goal Calculator.
- Take a look at debts and expenses
We also should remember to manage our expenses and make a plan to pay off debts. A common debt in many households is credit card debt. If this is the case, this calculator could help: Credit Card Payoff Calculator.
- Consider life insurance
Losing a family member is hard enough. Having to deal with the unexpected loss of an income and facing debt because of a loved one’s unexpected passing could bring additional stress to already suffering families. This could also contribute to the delay of a family’s way of building wealth. To help support your family, life insurance could be an option. Here are a few resources that can help us navigate this:
These are only some of the actions that, as women, we can take to help ourselves and our families navigate a world where the gender pay gap impacts our financial stability as well as the ability to build wealth for our families. But it doesn’t end here.
We need to use our voices to bring awareness to this systemic issue. We should also support and advocate for other women in the workplace and in life. And if you’re a man reading this, you also have the power to advocate for equal and fair pay. Don’t stay silent and become an ally!
Until economic equality is achieved, we should come together and take action any way we can to help support our financial wellbeing.