WASHINGTON — Government figures show that on average, Latinas in the United States are paid 54 cents for every dollar that a white, non-Hispanic male makes.
That means it takes Latinas one year, 10 months and 20 days to match the yearly income of those male workers.
A coalition of nongovernmental organizations is marking the Latina Women’s Equal Pay Day on Wednesday, highlighting the day on the calendar when the average Latina, working both 2018 and 2019, matches the 2018 income by white men.
Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center, said the numbers are “outrageous” and “devastating” because the trend has remained unaltered for decades, making impossible for these families to build wealth through generations.
Latino males are paid 65 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, according to federal statistics. The wage gap is greatest for foreign-born Latinas, who are paid just 38 cents to the dollar.
Latinas “are facing this double whammy of racism and sexism combined,” Tucker said. Even “when they are getting higher levels of education they are still getting paid less,” Tucker said.
Mónica Ramírez, founder and president of Justice for Migrant Women, said the 12 million Latinas who work full time in the United States include about 2 million domestic workers and 1 million farmworkers, two of the most vulnerable groups.
Paola Hernández, a member of UFW Foundation who has been a farmworker in Washington state for the past 30 years, said her male counterparts usually get paid higher.
“They are seen as stronger and more able to operate heavy machinery. A woman is never allowed to operate a tractor,” said the 54-year old Mexican immigrant who aspires to get a job as a cashier next year.
Experts and activists say the wage gap can be narrowed by strengthening unions, raising the minimum wage and passing equal pay laws. But they say it’s been an uphill fight under President Donald Trump.
A spokesperson for the Labor Department rejected that premise Tuesday, saying the Trump administration has awarded almost $300 million during the last two years for expanding access to skills training and apprenticeship opportunities in non-traditional industries, with the goal of empowering women.
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Luis Alonso Lugo, The Associated Press