Latinas Lag Counterparts in Pay


Latina women make two-thirds what white males do in the workplace and that’s a defined effect on their economic success and security.
That’s the viewpoint of a new Center for American Progress report. It says, “Women of color currently make up about 33 percent of the female workforce and are twice as likely as their white female counterparts to be employed in lower-wage sectors such as the service industry. Not surprisingly, then, the earnings of women of color continue to lag behind their white counterparts.”
In an article at, Adriana Kugler, chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, said, “Due to the wage gap, the average lifetime loss in salary for an American woman is $400,000, but for a Latina, the number goes up to $800,000.” Kugler, a Colombian-American, is the first Latina Chief Economist at the Department of Labor. “Imagine what a Latina can do with that amount – buy a home, pay for children’s colleges – it’ s an impressive number,” she added.
In comparison to white women, whose median usual weekly earnings are $703, Latina women earn just $518. Women of color also report living in poverty at much higher rates: In 2008 poverty rates among women were more than double for women of color compared to white women.
Latina women are also disproportionately unemployed. During the first quarter of 2012, Latina women saw rates of unemployment at 11.4 percent, which was much higher than the 7.2 percent unemployment rate for white women.
The report blames discrimination for Latinas and others getting slotted into low-income positions. It said, “One obvious reason for this workplace wage gap is that discrimination and labor segmentation over the years has restricted women to low-income jobs. In fact, women are three times more likely to work in administrative positions and are overrepresented in lower-paying occupations of the professional sector such as education and health care. In 2007 less than 15 percent of women were employed in management, business, and financial operations occupations.”
One area of success for Latinas is entrepreneurial efforts. The report said, “Latina-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market, and are starting up at six times the national average. Currently, 1 in 10 of all women-owned businesses are owned by Latinas. Across the country, Latina-owned businesses have total receipts of $55.7 billion and total receipts have grown by 57.8 percent since 2002.”