/ 10.21.19 /

Reflecting on National Hispanic Heritage Month and the gender-based wage gap

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2019, which ran from September 15 to October 15,  gave us a chance to celebrate the generations of Hispanic and Latinx Americans who have made history, shaped culture, and deeply enriched the fabric of our society. For us at W4W, this also meant reflecting upon and paying tribute to the Latina women who are heroes not on a national level, but to their own families and communities – especially if they’re the key breadwinners in their households.

These are women struggling against a persistent gender-based wage gap that’s extra-challenging for Latinas in particular. Pay for Latinas ranges from 42 cents for every dollar paid to White, non-Hispanic men in New Jersey, to 61 cents in Ohio. Among the obstacles to Latina women rising in the workforce: overrepresentation in low-wage service jobs, limited access to benefits like paid leave and retirement plans, and discrimination.

Latina women who access higher-level jobs aren’t immune to the wage gap, either: The median pay for Latina chief executives is $71,361 per year, compared to median pay of $108,953 for White, non-Hispanic men.

This “missing” pay means Latina women have less money to support themselves and their families, save and invest for the future and the future of their children, and for spending on goods and services that boosts their communities…not to mention the U.S. economy.

What would it look like for Latina women if we closed the wage gap? A year-round, full-time equitable salary would empower a woman to afford more than three additional years of child care, or 19 additional months of mortgage payments, or more than two additional years of rent.

As we move forward from National Hispanic Heritage Month, Working for Women plans to expand our work helping all women – especially those in underserved groups like Latinas — achieve economic independence. The time has come to close the gender-based wage gap.

(All statistics from the UnidosUS/National Partnership for Women and Families Fact Sheet, November 2018)