Study finds states with largest number of full-time Latina workers suffer from punishing wage gaps

LatinaLista — Though women have gone into space, enlist in the military, sit on the Supreme Court, head up Fortune 500 companies and have even run for president of the United States, women still get paid less than men for doing the same jobs.

Nationally, women overall, are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to all men – or $11,084 less per year. Latinas are paid just 60 cents for every dollar paid to all men. That amounts to a loss of $19,182 each year.

Nationally, women, overall, are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to all men — or $11,084 less per year. A new analysis shows that it’s even worse for Latinas.

The National Partnership for Women & Families recently analyzed the 20 states with the highest percentage of Latinas in the workforce fulltime. The findings were discouraging.

  • In the 20 states with the largest number of Latinas working full time, year round, pay for Latinas ranges from 51 to 68 cents for every dollar paid to men in those states.
  • The states with the largest populations of Latinas working full time, year round are Texas and California. In Texas, Latinas are paid 59 cents for every dollar paid to Texan men. In California, Latinas are paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to men in the state.
  • Among these states, Latinas in Washington and New Jersey suffer from the largest wage gap, bringing home just 51 cents for every dollar paid to men in their states.
  • Among the 20 states, Florida and New Mexico have the smallest wage gaps – but Latinas in those states still face a substantial disparity of 68 cents for every dollar paid to men in the two states.

The difference in pay is especially disturbing when taking into account the fact that almost 40 percent of all Latina-headed households live below the poverty level and the statistic rises to 50 percent of those with children under five years of age.

For these families, an extra dollar or two has always made a big difference, but the amount in lost wages due to the inequality between Latinas and men in the workforce has even greater significance:

If the wage gap were eliminated, a Latina working full time, year round would have enough money for approximately:

  • Nearly three years’ worth of food.
  • More than one year of mortgage and utilities payments;
  • Nearly two years of rent;
  • Almost five more years’ worth of family health insurance premiums;
  • 5,743 additional gallons of gas.

However, there is a remedy to this imbalance of worker value. It’s called the Paycheck Fairness Act. It closes loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and establishes stronger workplace protections for women. It was passed in 2009 by the U.S. House of Representatives but came two votes short in the Senate in 2010. It will be re-introduced in the 113th Congress this year.

With as many women who turned out to vote in the 2012 presidential election and a record number of women elected to Congress — 101 women in the 113th Congress —, there’s hope that such historic disparities in this nation will begin to be resolved.

“…lawmakers have the power to help close this gap and promote economic security for women and families in their districts,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “Lawmakers who are serious about rebuilding our economy and valuing families will work to address discrimination and the punishing wage gap that results. Hardworking women deserve to be paid fairly no matter where they live or their race. By overwhelming majorities, Americans know this and support federal action. It’s time for Congress to act.”

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