Latinas In Texas Are Among The Most Affected By The Wage Gap And It’s Getting Worse
According to new research, Latina workers had to work until Nov. 20, 2019, to be paid the same wages as white non-Hispanic men in 2018, and it’s even worse in Texas. Representative Lizzie Fletcher (D-Houston) highlighted that fact on Latina Equal Pay Day, Nov. 20, in a tweet. “In Texas, Latinas make less than $0.45 for every dollar a man makes. That makes us 49th in the nation. The Senate must pass the (Paycheck Fairness Act) now. Latinas deserve better — we all do,” the Representative tweeted. Texas’s House of Representatives approved the Paycheck Fairness Act, sending it to the Senate for a vote back in March. The bill has been stalled in the Senate ever since. If passed into law, the Paycheck Fairness Act would increase penalties for employers that issue discriminatory wages to their workers. The bill would also require employers to report pay information to the Department of Labor, holding employers accountable for paying Latinas unfairly.
Last year, Latina Equal Pay Day was on Nov. 1, but Latinas have to work an extra 20 days than last year to make the same as their white male counterparts.
Last year, Texas was “the third-worst state for Latinas when it comes to the wage gap,” Maya Raghu, the Director of Workplace Equality at the National Women’s Law Center told Houston Public Media. She added that “the wage gap for Latinas has barely budged in about 30 years.” This year, Texas is the second-worst state in America for Latinas to make a living wage. Rep. Fletcher took Latina Equal Pay Day as an opportunity to push for legislation of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Later, Rep. Fletcher clarified her statement in a follow-up tweet, saying, “Someone asked the question, so to be clear: this statistic refers to white, non-Hispanic men.”
Rep. Fletcher received plenty of backlash from Twitter trolls, who nearly cried ‘white racism’ and spewed anti-immigrant rhetoric. “Why Latinas? Why not just level it for all???? After all Latinas are your new majority. Who will be looking after the new minority?” asked Twitter user Shifty Schiff. “NO to #LatinaEqualPayDay !! Latinas crossing the border INCREASE chances Americans will be trafficked. #BuildTheWall traitor!!” tweeted another user in response to Rep. Fletcher. Another troll tweeted, “Equal opportunity, not equal outcome. You can’t enforce equal outcome unless you take all opportunity away from everyone. This is not the job of government!”
In fact, reports show that the pay gap widens the more educated a Latina becomes.
Unfortunately, education appears to be a key factor, robbing Latinas of opportunities to compete in higher-wage fields because of the lack of access to education. In 2013, 19 percent of all Latina-Americans aged 25-29 had completed a college degree compared to 44 percent of white women, according to a government study. When you add documentation as a factor, the statistics plummet. Still, when you control for education, the gap only gets worse, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. Latinas in the legal field are paid an average salary of $52,477 compared to white men who earn an average of $150,487, averaging a 65 percent pay gap, according to the Bureau of Labor. While Latina CEOs and General Managers are paid 35 percent less than their white non-Hispanic male counterparts.
More than half of Latina mothers are the primary income-earners in their household, and the disparities become inherited. Over the course of her career, the average Latina would earn over $1.1 million more if paid fairly, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families April 2019 report. The report cited that “if the wage gap were eliminated, on average, a Latina working full time, year-round would have enough money to afford one of the following: more than three additional years of child care, nearly 19 additional months of mortgage payments, more than two additional years of rent, almost two years of the maximum retirement contribution to her employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement account, or more than five years of the maximum retirement contribution to her Traditional or Roth IRA account.”
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans are not even aware of the Latina pay gap, according to a LeanIn.Org/SurveyMonkey poll.
A sample of 5,690 adults polled online between Oct. 25-29, 2019 showed that nearly 1,900 surveyors were not aware of the Latina pay gap. Half of them were not aware of the pay gap between Latinas and white women. The dollar for dollar wage gap is relevant when you control for job title, education, and location, but doesn’t factor in discrimination that favors white men over Latina women for promotion. The LeanIn.org/SurveyMonkey poll found that “for every 100 men who are promoted to manager, only 68 Latinas are promoted. This ‘broken rung’ results in more Latinas getting stuck at entry-level.”