Latina Equal Pay Day: What’s the Reality?

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This October 21 is National Latina Equal Pay Day, which marks the date on which a Latina has finally managed to earn the same salary that a non-Hispanic white male earned during 2020. This means that a Hispanic woman must work almost twice as hard to earn the same salary as a white man.

In the U.S., a Latina earns 0.57 cents for every dollar a white man makes, and while the numbers seem to indicate that this gap is narrowing, there are things to keep in mind.

As MSNBC explained, the impact of the pandemic on the Latina economy has directly influenced the figures recorded by the U.S. Labor Department. While a Latina currently earns 0.57 cents on the dollar, an increase of two cents since 2020, this is not exactly a good sign.

What is problematic is the way this figure is calculated, explained attorney and activist Monica Ramirez in an Op-Ed.

“The key problem this year is that the pay gap calculation is based on reported income for Latina women who continued to work throughout the pandemic,” Ramirez wrote. “It fails to account for the more than 5.5 million women workers that were forced out of the labor market in 2020. Out of these 5.5 million women workers, over 1 million were Latinas who had to leave the workforce either because they got sick, someone that they loved got sick, or because they had to care for other people, like school children whose schools abruptly closed.”

Ramirez explains how, instead of reducing the wage gap, jobs and job opportunities for Latinas have been reduced, directly affecting the per capita income calculation.

“Because these women were simply not working, there was no workforce data to represent them in the recent pay gap calculations. Consequently, the result was a calculation that was based on the earnings of mostly higher-paid workers,” Ramirez wrote.

Where is the good news?

Despite being a disadvantaged population, Latinas have become a transformative force — both as consumers and entrepreneurs.

Just this week, we at BELatina have reported on the impact of Latinas in the beauty industry and how an Afro-Latina-owned beverage brand became one of the top fundraisers in the last year.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

A month ago, we highlighted the findings of a study that found Latinas influence a large portion of the $1.9 trillion in Hispanic buying power and are one of the most important investing forces in the country.

Now, CNote, a women-led community investment platform on a mission to close the wealth gap, released new research conducted to address a persistent problem: women of color start businesses faster than anyone else, yet they remain underserved by lenders.

The study Redesigning Lending: Improving Access to Capital for Women of Color Entrepreneurs interviewed more than 75 racially diverse women business owners — 66% Black, 28% Latina, and 5% Asian/Pacific Islander — who identified the following widespread barriers to accessing capital:

  • 87.5% of respondents felt that race or gender bias contributed to how they were treated during the lending process.
  • 69% of respondents needed working capital but were not able to find this type of loan product.
  • A majority found the lending process convoluted and labor-intensive and experienced drastic differences between lenders, significant application processing delays, and high denial rates with no explanations.

In short, it is not a lack of potential, capabilities, or entrepreneurship; it is a lack of opportunity and obstacles imposed by a system that refuses to change.

The time is now.