Marking Latina Equal Pay Day

By Catherine Singley Harvey, NCLR Economic Policy Project

Labor-Day-Banner-Photo-6_resizedToday is Latina Equal Pay Day, marking the day when the average Latina worker’s wages catch up with the wages earned by the average non-Latino White man last year. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the gender wage gap is “the amount of money a woman would have to earn for every dollar made by a man in order to have equal annual earnings.” In 2013, women in the U.S. working full time year round made only 78 cents for every dollar a man made. Hispanic women earned only 56 cents. This is not just about the kinds of jobs Latinas hold; the gap persists between workers in the same occupations, from surgeons to customer service representatives.

Latina Equal Pay Day is no cause for celebration; rather, it is the stark reminder that pay discrimination still undermines the economic security of women, and especially Latinas, and their families. The real life consequences of wage disparities are devastating for Latino families, particularly because so many Hispanic households rely on the income of Latina mothers or heads-of-households to provide. An analysis by the National Partnership for Women and Families finds that about 40 percent of married Latina mothers earn at least half of their families’ income. Of the nearly 2.8 million households in the U.S. headed by a Latina, more than 1.1 million currently live in poverty. Nationwide, the Latino poverty rate is more than double the poverty rate for Whites.

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We’ve heard from Latina voters directly that they are alarmed about low wages. A national poll of Latino voters by NCLR and Latino Decisions found that nearly 67 percent of female participants are concerned that they were not making enough to cover their basic expenses.  And more than 63 percent say that their personal finances have either remained unchanged or actually gotten worse in the five years since the Great Recession. Wages are clearly on the mind of Latino voters, who will play an important role in key races in this election cycle.

Wage Gap for Latinas in States with Key Hispanic Electorate
State Number of Latinas Working Full Time Media Wages for Latinas Media Wages for White, Non-Hispanic Men Annual Wage Gap Cents on the Dollar
California 1,425,264 $29,829 $68,464 $38,635 0.44
Texas 1,094,074 $26,021 $57,406 $31,385 0.45
Nevada 86,052 $27,552 $52,963 $25,411 0.52
Colorado 114,041 $30,156 $56,496 $26,340 0.53
Florida 581,460 $28,491 $48,864 $20,373 0.58

Source: NCLR selection from analysis by National Partnership for Women and Families of 2013U.S. Census Bureau data.

As you cast your ballot this November, show your support for your mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters who deserve to live in a country where their hard work is rewarded with fair compensation. Learn about where your candidates stand on gender pay discrimination and encourage them to get on board with the majority of the voters who believe that our lawmakers should act to close the wage gap for women and especially Latinas.

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