Latinas in the Job Market: A Force to Be Reckoned With

Latina Latinx workforce

Much has been said about the projection of the Latino population in the coming years. We have not only become the country’s largest ethnic group, but also the fastest-growing demographic.

Our decisions affect choices, market trends and, obviously, the workforce.

But while popular culture remains rooted in stereotypes of yesteryear the gardener, the dancer, and the housekeeper the reality is that Hispanics are now one of the most influential communities in the United States and the world.

A National Geographic story exposed how the example of small populations in the United States where Latinos were part of all spheres — is reproduced at the national level.

Today there are Latinos almost everywhere: in state legislatures, on corporate boards, in the military… and with the second feminist revolution wreaking havoc for equal opportunity, Latinas have taken to the stage in an unprecedented way.

According to the Washington Post, today 61 percent of Latinas are participating in the labor force, a statistic that puts them above the national rate for females of 59 percent , according to a November job report.

“At a time when the Trump administration is aggressively cracking down on unauthorized immigration, the statistic shows that the U.S. economy remains dependent on migrants and their children for growth in the labor force,” the media adds.

And this is a trend that will only increase. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, by 2028 Hispanic women are expected to represent 9.2 percent of the nation’s total workforce, two percentage points more than in 2018.

But it’s not all-good news.

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), “Latina workers have to work nearly 11 months into 2019 to be paid the same as White non-Hispanic men in 2018.

This means that Hispanic women suffer a “double pay gap.” Not only do we earn less for being women, but for our ancestry as well, and this is discrimination that forgives neither occupation nor academic training. This is what EPI calls “occupational segregation.”

“Latina workers are far more likely to be found in certain low-wage professions than white men are (and less common in high-wage professions),” explains the analysis. “But, even in professions with more Latina workers, they still are paid less on average than their white male colleagues.”

Although the House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act in March, there is a risk that one of the largest workforces in the years to come will also be one of the worst paid.

What can be done to change this?

It all starts with representation.

At the 116th Congress there are 42 Hispanic members, 12 of whom are women, and they are responsible for bringing about change at the highest levels. In the meantime, we must fight from the local level to elect representatives with whom we identify and who can manifest the change we want to see on a large scale.

The time is now.