Latinas earn only 53 cents for every dollar a white man makes. It's time for that to change.

By Alma Sacasa
November 20, 2019 12:20 PM
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Today, November 20, is Latina Equal Pay Day, which marks how long into the year a Latina has to work in order to make as much as a white man made in the previous year. You read that correctly: A Latina has to work nearly 11 months into a second year to match her male counterpart's earnings in a single year.

This year, Latina Equal Pay Day falls 18 days later than it did in 2018 because Latinas' earnings actually decreased in 2017 (the year used to determine 2019's Equal Pay Day). Latinas have only gained a raise of 4 cents in four decades, according to the National Women's Law Center, and the highest that Latina wages have risen compared to white men's is 56 cents on the dollar, in 2013.

Despite the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, American women are still struggling to overcome the persistent wage gap in this country. Women of all races are affected by the pay gap, but Latina women are at the bottom of the pay hierarchy. While white women make median weekly earnings of $843, Latina women make just $661. Latina Equal Pay Day is also the Equal Pay Day that falls latest in the year. For Asian American women, it was in March; for all women, it was in April; for black women, it was in August; and for Native American women, it was in September.

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Stars like Diane Guerrero and Eva Longoria have come forward to help raise awareness to the wage gap in the United States. "The lack of awareness of the pay gap is frustrating, but misunderstandings about its causes are downright dangerous," Eva Longoria wrote in a new essay for CNBC. "Nearly 30 percent of Americans believe the pay gap exists in part because Latinas simply choose lower-paying jobs, implying that Latinas ourselves can be blamed for the gap, according to [a LeanIn.org] study. This presumption is utterly untrue."

As Longoria notes, the pay gap persists even when you account for education, experience and other factors. When you add in factors like inadequate parental leave policies and racism in the workplace, it's easy to see why the Latina pay gap continues to be so large.

By the year 2060, 25 percent of women in the U.S. will be Latina. Change is hard, but it has to happen, and on Latina Equal Pay Day, we want to remind you to know your worth.

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