Latina workers earn just over half the pay of their white, male counterparts, study finds

The National Women’s Law Center’s research shows Hispanic women in full-time jobs make just 57 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men earn. That translates to a loss of nearly $1.2 million over a 40-year career.


FILE – In this April 6, 2016, file photo, fans stand behind a large sign for equal pay for the women’s soccer team during an international friendly soccer match between the United States and Colombia at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. The U.S. Soccer Federation and the World Cup champion women’s team have agreed on a labor contract, settling a dispute in which the players sought equitable wages to their male counterparts. The financial terms and length of the multiyear deal were not disclosed. The agreement was ratified by the players and the federation’s board Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

A new study finds Latina workers earn just over half what their white, male counterparts do.

The study from the National Women's Law Center found that in 2021, Latinas working full time earned just 57 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. "This gap in pay typically amounts to a loss of $2,477 every month, $29,724 every year, and $1,188,960 over a 40-year career," said Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the center and author of the study.

The study provides a breakdown by community of national origin. It finds that Spanish and Argentinian women earned the most on average at 82 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. Honduran women earned the least at just 44 cents on the dollar.

The National Women's Law Center published the study just one week before Latina Equal Pay Day on December 8.

Tucker said that the numbers actually understate the economic disparities Latina workers face. It does not include Latinas who were unemployed or underemployed for part of 2021 due to the pandemic.

"Millions of jobs were lost, particularly among women working in low-paid jobs, while other women were forced into part-time work as they lost access to full-time work or needed to adjust their schedules to care for children or other loved ones," Tucker said.

When part-time and part-year workers are included in the comparison, the study finds, Latinas earned only 54 cents on the dollar compared to white, non-Hispanic men.

"It's a huge gap, and the gap continues to widen, and we must make sure that we are talking about this," said Laura Murillo, president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Murillo said one of the ways to ensure Latinas attain more equal pay is to promote greater representation of women and minorities on corporate boards.

"We have to start at the top," Murillo said. "We have to make sure that we have more women, more minorities on these corporate board of directors, more CEOs, so that they can reach down and make sure that they're pulling up and making sure that they're looking at their compensation and that it's absolutely equitable."

According to the Pew Research Center, just 7.4% of all CEOs at Fortune 500 companies were women as of 2020. None of them were Latina or Black.

Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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