Long before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the nation’s economic and racial disparities into shocking relief, Latinas and Black women were suffering in silence from the multiple layers of unfair pay.
It is a historical phenomenon that seems to have no end.
Now, in the wake of the economic and social impact of the pandemic, it is Latinas and Black women who have left the workforce in large numbers, and who have had to take charge of their households, one way or another.
However, new figures from LeanIn.Org and Survey Monkey have shown that nearly half of Latinas and Black women have no purchasing power, and just under half have less than $300 in their bank account.
The reason is one: Latinas and Black women are often the lowest-paid employees in the entire United States. They hold some of the highest percentages in low-wage jobs making them less likely to have access to benefits, and usually get denied access to funding and aid, like loans on homes. It doesn’t help that the cost of childcare is so expensive, yet a necessity for them to be able to work.
This is the definition of systemic problems. The solution? Well, it is also systemic. Corporations need to make the effort to close the gap between gender and race pay. Political figures need to make it a point to pass legislation further promoting equal pay. An example of that is raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which some consider the bare minimum considering the rest of the so-called “developed” world have similar minimum salaries.
Since the start of the pandemic, it is estimated that 49% of Latinas and 51% of Black women have struggled with their finances like food, rent, and childcare. Unfortunately, studies show they are twice as likely to struggle over a white man. To add to that, they more often than not can’t afford to take off, even when there is an emergency.
Though the community of minority women has made strides, that isn’t enough. Not only does representation matter in every facet of their personal lives, but so does money. The history of unequal pay dates back to before the 1900s, and we’re still fighting that fight today.