Latinas receive 57 cents for every dollar earned by non-Hispanic white men in the United States, a fact that demonstrates the large wage gap that still exists in the country, where Hispanic women must work almost twice as hard to obtain the same salary as their counterparts. masculine.
According to the most recent data, this gap becomes deeper if Hispanic women who work part-time are included. The “abysmal difference” then widens to 52 cents for every dollar received by non-Hispanic men, insists a report from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).
“That is a horrible number. In other words, a Latina woman has to work almost twice as hard, almost two years, to earn what a non-Hispanic white man earned in 2022. And that is not acceptable,” he stressed to the The Vermilion Jessica Stender, Director of Legal Policy at the Human Rights advocacy group Equal Rights Advocates (WAS) .
Latina Equal Pay Day Latina Equal Pay Daycommemorated this year on October 5, serves to shed light on the salary disparity that hits one of the most powerful and fastest growing groups in the US, and that is a clear reflection of the economic obstacles that everyone faces to varying degrees. the female workforce.
In the US, “wage disparities are even more pronounced for black women, Native American women, Latinas, many Asian American women, and women with disabilities,” recognized President Joe Biden himself in a proclamation for Equal Pay Day last March.
Biden also stated that discrimination is also part of the causes of the differences in payments and highlighted that despite the relief measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, the country “clearly has a long way to go.”
“This wage gap is equivalent to a loss of 2,538 each month, 30,450 each year, and 1,218,000 in a 40-year career,” he told the The Vermilion Diana Ramírez, Labor Justice expert at the NWLC, a Washington-based NGO that advocates for women’s rights.
For Latinas it is not a day-to-day issue, but a scourge that spans generations. “These 1.2 million dollars could be our retirement fund, our children’s education, savings for an emergency, assistance to care for our parents, the purchase of a house, etc.,” Ramírez explained.
A day to make visible a years-old problem
Maribel García has been cleaning offices for 10 years, when she arrived in Florida from her native Cuba. On the island, the now 67-year-old Cuban worked as a clerk in a store where she “earned little, but at least I felt like a person,” she told the The Vermilion on a break from his night work.
Although she insists that she “doesn’t deny” her job as a cleaner at all and acknowledges that she earns “more in an hour than in a month in Cuba,” she does feel that the opportunities for “colored” migrants and those over 40 are much greater. scarcer in the US. García earns $16 an hour and is in charge of more than 60 offices on two floors, which she must clean every night.
Latinas are “disproportionately” represented in the low-paid workforce, where the proportion of Hispanics (15.9%) is almost double their overall proportion in the US workforce (8%), according to NWLC data. .
“Among Latinas who work full-time in low-paying jobs, almost four in 10 (38.9%) lived in poverty or close to it,” said the NWLC expert, who insisted that this number grows to almost half (48.1%) among those who worked part-time.
This means “less money that a Latina woman has to pay rent, for food, to buy diapers. Latina women and their families have fewer resources for their daily lives, less money to save in case they need it for retirement or if there is a medical emergency,” indicated ERA’s Director of Legal Policy, Jessica Stender.
For Stender, several factors influence the “slow” closing of this gap, including the still current “discrimination in pay” even though it is prohibited at the federal level, occupational segregation, the lack of salary transparency and paid leave. for women who have to take care of family members or children.
For this reason, and to make visible a problem that needs an “urgent solution,” Equal Pay Day for Latinas is observed in the US every year, which although the date varies, does not change its essence.
“Latinas face racism and sexism at every turn in our economy. Throughout our lives, our society has disparaged our work simply because we are women and Latinas. The least paid jobs fall to women. Many of these jobs were named “essential” during the pandemic, but the salary was not given the same importance,” said Diana Ramírez.
Petitions and a t-shirt that demands “Pay me”
Organizations defending women’s rights, migrants and groups that bring together Hispanic women in different states have come together to demand the closing of the gender wage gap and better working conditions.
Among them, the NWLC and ERA, along with other allies, are trying to raise awareness among the general public, but above all national and state legislators, about the need to raise the federal minimum wage to $17 per hour with support for the Raise Wage Act. of 2023 (Raise the Wage Act in English).
This includes “young people, tipped workers, and other sectors that have historically been paid less than the minimum wage,” Ramírez explained.
They also advocate passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would protect against retaliation for discussing salaries with colleagues and prohibit employers from screening job applicants based on their salary history.
Also, in the case of the NWLC, the unionization of workers in their jobs is sought, “because when women are members of a union, we receive better salaries and benefits,” added Diana Ramírez.
In the case of calls to action, these also have a colorful side and can be carried anywhere as a message. “Together we say: Págame” or “Together we say: Págame”, is the demand that Karla Butvides, a Puerto Rican entrepreneur, has printed on t-shirts as part of a campaign for Equal Pay Day for Latinas.
The initiative, together with the group WeAllGrowLatinawhich promotes businesses founded by Hispanic women in the US, is designed to raise funds for the EqualPayToday coalition and to “raise our voice” against this gap, she explained to the The Vermilion Butvides, creator of Karla and Co.
“It is very important for me, who have this platform, to be able to teach others and show how much women have to fight to be able to have what is normal, what every person needs to survive. It fills me with pride that we can use this platform to educate others, to be there and make them understand that we need this, we need this equality,” the entrepreneur insisted.