His­panic women hurt most by pay in­equal­ity

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Business - BY SARAH MORENO Mi­ami Her­ald

Five ex­tra months of rent, nine months of child care and nearly four months of health in­sur­ance.

That’s what women in the United States could af­ford if their salaries were the same as men’s.

The salary gap is still pum­mel­ing work­ing women, and par­tic­u­larly those who are heads of fam­ily like many His­pan­ics, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­port by the Na­tional Part­ner­ship for Women & Fam­i­lies (NPWF).

The re­port, based on U.S. cen­sus data, calculated the dif­fer­ences in av­er­age salaries among men and women who work full time in each of the 50 states.

In Florida, women earn 87 cents for each dol­lar earned by a man, a dif­fer­ence of $5,515 per year.

But for a Latina woman in Florida, the pic­ture is more dire. A His­panic woman earns only 60 cents for each dol­lar earned by a white nonHis­panic male, a gap of $20,380 per year, on av­er­age, in the state.

“If that salary gap is elim­i­nated, Lati­nas in Florida could pay for 34 ad­di­tional months of child care or more than 14 months of a health in­sur­ance of­fered by em­ploy­ers,” Jes­sica Ma­son, a se­nior an­a­lyst with the NPWF, told el Nuevo Her­ald.

Ma­son said the gap is the re­sult of fac­tors such as racial and gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion, work­place ha­rass­ment, job seg­re­ga­tion and a lack of work­place poli­cies that sup­port fam­ily care­giv­ing.

The re­sults of the study were pub­lished April 1, on the eve of Equal Pay Day, es­tab­lished in 1996 by the Na­tional Com­mit­tee on Pay Eq­uity (NCPE). The date changes from year to year, and the 2019 date was set for April 2 be­cause that’s how far into the year women must have worked to earn what men earned in 2018.

At the na­tional level, Latin women earn 53 cents for ev­ery dol­lar earned by a white nonHis­panic male; Na­tive Amer­i­can women earn 58 cents; African-Amer­i­can women earn 61 cents; white non-His­panic women earn 77 cents; and Asian women earn 85 cents.

In dol­lar num­bers, a Latin woman earns an av­er­age of $32,002 per year com­pared with the $60,388 av­er­age an­nual in­come of a white nonHis­panic male – a dif­fer­ence of $28,386.

The salary gap also af­fects ca­reer Lati­nas. The av­er­age salary of a Latina ex­ec­u­tive is $ 71,362; for a com­puter spe­cial­ist, $61,781.

The av­er­age non-His­panic white male in those jobs earns more than $100,000 per year.

The states with the big­gest salary gaps were Louisiana, Utah, In­di­ana and Alabama. The gap was par­tic­u­larly dam­ag­ing to the moth­ers of chil­dren un­der 18 who are the main wage earn­ers. They earn 71 cents for ev­ery dol­lar earned by the fa­thers.

“The wage gap is even larger for many women of color, who face the in­ter­sect­ing harms of gen­der- and race-based dis­crim­i­na­tion,” Ma­son added.

She noted that even in states like Florida, which has one of the small­est salary gaps, the im­pact on women is con­sid­er­able be­cause that money would be used to pay for hous­ing, food and ser­vices. Florida has one of the low­est wage gaps, rank­ing fourth from the bot­tom.

“The loss of ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties or life-chang­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties is no small mat­ter,” Ma­son added.

NPWF Pres­i­dent De­bra L. Ness ar­gued that salary in­equal­ity is not the re­sult of any sin­gle cause and there­fore has no easy so­lu­tion. She added that the Pay­check Fair­ness Act, passed by the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives last week to com­bat salary dis­crim­i­na­tion, was “en­cour­ag­ing.”

Ness also sup­ports rais­ing the fed­eral min­i­mum wage and elim­i­nat­ing the lower salaries al­lowed for em­ploy­ees who re­ceive tips and those who are dis­abled. She also sup­ports na­tional reg­u­la­tions for health and fam­ily leaves and qual­ity health­care.

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