Statement by National NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, we recognize Latina Women’s Equal Pay Day as an important reminder of the systemic economic disparities that women of color experience. Latinas, on average, make 54 cents to every $1 made by white non-Hispanic men – a gap that is actually increasing. This year’s observance is particularly significant because, for the first time, calculations included part-time and seasonal work in addition to the standard full-time year-round employment data.
According to the Department of Labor, Hispanic women experience the largest wage gap of any major racial or ethnic group. These women have also experienced one of the slowest growth rates compared to white men, with only a four percent change in earning ratio from 1988 to 2019. If this rate of change continues to stagnate, Latina women can expect to achieve equal pay in the year 2197. Despite high participation in the workforce, they are overrepresented in low-wage jobs. The Department of Labor goes on to say “almost 1 in 10 (9 percent) Latinas working 27 hours or more a week are living below the poverty line,” and they are underrepresented in leadership roles in higher-paying jobs.
We cannot allow pervasive and blatant discrimination to continue to hold Latina women back. By ignoring this widening gap, the US is being cheated out of the tremendous economic growth driven by these women. We must advocate for policies that ensure Latina women have access to the resources they need to support themselves, their families, and their communities now and in the future through financial security. Equal pay isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the best investment we can make.
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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org.