3 minute read 

As the electoral returns trickled in last week, the eyes of the nation watched as new demographics carved out a new constituency, and much was said about the Latino vote. Long underrepresented in media writ large, and conspicuously lacking from high office and executive positions, a new focus on DE&I initiatives is casting a new light on this growing minority. According to the US Census, Latinos make up 18% of the US population and are its fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, with a median household age of 28, a pre-pandemic population increase of 1.9% per year, and a diverse intersectional ideological population

Latinas, who represent a large group of frontline workers, were disproportionately affected by the Covid-caused job market downturn, throwing into the spotlight an unsettling fact regarding pay parity: Latinas in the U.S. face a “lifetime wage gap,” having to work approximately 22 months to achieve pay equity with what white men are paid in just twelve months (according to a study by the National Women’s Law Center). This dire gender wage gap underscores the broader pay equity issues within the U.S., and its effects highlight the need to focus on pay parity for a stronger economy now, and in the future. 

Scalable, Actionable Data

As a growing segment of the entrepreneurial sector, coming from a diverse and often immigrant background, the Latino population represents a microcosm of the evolving American landscape. The wage gap issues affecting the Latina workforce point to a wider equity problem, and their numbers suggest a pressing one:

  • According to NWLC estimates, Latinas will endure an average loss of “$2,425 every month, $29,098 every year, and $1,163,920 over a 40-year career,”;
  • This wage gap affects Latinas in every state in the U.S;
  • These pay parity issues are long-standing and systemic, with the American Association of University Women showing a meager increase from 1988 to today from 53 cents on the dollar to 55 cents to every dollar paid to white men;

Education has had little effect on this gap. Latinas with high school diplomas earned just 67% of similarly educated white males; a bachelor’s degree only improves this disparity slightly, with college educated Latinas receiving 63% of the pay of their white male counterparts. This specific gender wage gap also spans across occupations, with Latinas overrepresented in the service workforce making 6-32% less than those in the majority; while Latina physicians averaged a difference of $20.46 per hour less than white doctors, according to EHS today. 

The national gender wage gap is 81.6 cents to the dollar, but that average deviates based on race, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. For African American women the gap is 62 cents for every dollar white men earn; 90 cents for Asian American women; and 79 cents for white women — with Latinas still hardest hit. 

A Level Playing Field

Latina-owned small business growth has increased 87% since 2007 (according to the National Women’s Business Council), and the most common challenge to this field of emerging entrepreneurs has been shown to be sourcing capital. The gender wage gap has proven deleterious to employee morale, and achieving pay equity could add an approximate $512 billion dollars to the GDP (according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research). As the country struggles to lift itself out of the current economic crisis, with shuttering businesses and joblessness growing as a consequence of a global pandemic, pay parity laws could be a silver bullet for resurrecting the US economy. California is leading the charge with SB 973, and the Biden administration has pledged to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, leaving little doubt that closing the gender wage gap for women of all races is a national priority. Leaning into pay equity proactively, for business owners in every sector, will be an essential next step in embracing the labor market of the future.The best way to do that is with accurate data assessing your organization’s pay gap and providing actionable DEI&A analytics.