The gender pay gap is a complex issue created by racism, classism, and sexism that affects our paychecks, families, and careers. It shows up across all jobs, geography, and education levels. The pay gap is further widened by racism, classicism and other forms of oppression.
Latinas experience the widest pay gap, earning $.54 for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. That translates to over $2,400 a month. In fact, Latinas have to work longer than any other group to make up this gap making it more difficult to thrive and live without economic hardships.
The common thread among all Equal Pay Days is that the pandemic made the pay gap worse for all women. Many Latinas were pushed out of the workforce during COVID while balancing caregiving, remote learning, and jobs. Recovery from the pandemic has been slow for all women of color and made economic inequality even worse. And now, Latinas are also facing inflation and the end of programs that helped them survive during the pandemic.
Because of the pandemic, Latinas were more likely to struggle to afford necessities like rent and groceries. 28% of Latinas worked on the front lines of the pandemic, like healthcare, service jobs, teachers, and childcare workers, but continue to be paid less than white men in those jobs.
We know that the pay gap is widened by racism and Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other women of color experience both racism and sexism in the workplace that affects their paychecks and futures.
All workers in the U.S. are protected by certain rights in the workplace based on federal employment discrimination laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, transgender status, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. You can read more about the rights all employees have here.
Most importantly, it is illegal to retaliate against employees for talking about pay. Talking about pay with your coworkers is a huge first step in creating equitable work environments. Download our zine for more information on your rights and tips to talk about the gender pay gap.
Connecting the dots between economic justice and the gender pay gap means fighting for policies at the local, state, and federal level that help working women and families achieve equity. From policies as broad as voting rights to as specific as local paid leave laws help women close the pay gap.
9to5 has long worked to end the pay gap and the persistent pay disparities that women of color face. Latinas are most likely to struggle with housing insecurity, child care costs and food insecurity. Policies that would provide affordable, accessible and culturally relevant child care and that pays workers living wages are essential. Additionally, policies like No Eviction Without Representation helps keep struggling families housed and the expanded Child Tax Credit helps keep food on the table and account for other necessities.