UCLA Latino Advocacy Groups Highlight Shocking Gender Wage Gap for Latinas

October 5. 2023

For Immediate Release
Oct 5, 2023

Media Contact
Jess Eagle
[email protected]

 LOS ANGELES – On October 5, 2023, a coalition of advocacy groups, including Equal Rights Advocates, Latina Futures, 2050 Lab, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC), and the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute (UCLA LPPI), hosted a Latina Equal Pay Day event at the UCLA campus. The program showcased findings from UCLA LPPI showing the persistent wage gap that Latinas continue to face. Nationally, Latinas working full-time year-round, on average, face a wage gap of 57 cents to every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. When looking at all Latina earners (including full-time year-round, part-time, and seasonal workers), the wage gap widens to 52 cents.

The event was part of Latina Futures, 2050 Lab, an initiative to investigate Latinas’ experiences in the labor market, their participation in civic leadership, and their well-being.

UCLA LPPI analysis showed the gender wage gap remains shockingly high in California, which has some of the strongest equal pay laws in the country, but Latina women in the state are paid an average of 51 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic white men, according to data analysis from the forthcoming Latino Data Hub, a new data platform from the Institute. The new reporting also found that Latinas with a bachelor’s degree are paid 42 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic white men with a similar level of education.

“Latinas are the backbone of California’s economy– driving growth and participating in the labor market at record rates. Yet they continue to bear the lion’s share of care work and be disproportionately represented in industries society undervalues,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “This needs to be addressed. Latinas and their contributions to their families, communities, and our society are too valuable to be excluded from economic opportunity. In California, we’re working to transform our economy— in part, by closing the gender pay gap— so it works for all women.”

The California Equal Pay Pledge – an initiative championed by First Partner Siebel Newsom in partnership with the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and California Partners Project – aims to turn the strongest equal pay laws in the nation into the smallest pay gap in the nation. The Pledge implores public and private sector companies to commit to doing their part to close the wage gap and normalize pay equity, and to-date over 130 companies and municipalities have signed.

Latina Equal Pay Day highlights the significance of creating a more inclusive and equitable economy that benefits all workers,” said Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside). “As Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, I am proud of our investment to launch the Latina Futures 2050 Lab to research, collect and analyze data and provide insight into policies that impact our lives. When Latinas succeed, California succeeds!”

Other findings from UCLA LPPI reported at the event include that the Latina workforce in California is large and growing. There are currently more than 3.3 million Latina workers in the state. Among young workers sixteen to forty-four years of age, Latinas outnumber women in other major racial/ethnic groups. Latina workers earn the lowest median wages. In 2021, the median hourly wage for Latinas in California was only $17 per hour—lower than the wage for workers in other major racial/ethnic groups.

“Our research underscores that Latina workers continue to grapple with a significant wage gap, particularly when they possess a college education,” said Silvia González, UCLA LPPI Director of Research. “The stark reality is that Latinas in California earned only 51 cents for every dollar earned by non-Hispanic white men, and those with a bachelor’s degree fared even worse, earning a mere 42 cents for every dollar earned by their non-Hispanic white male counterparts with similar educational qualifications.”

“The Latina Futures, 2050 Lab is conducting research to inform policy reforms that promote equity for Latinas and other women,” said Dr. Veronica Terriquez, Co-Director of the Latina Futures, 2050 Lab and Director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. “We appreciate the partnership of civil society leaders in promoting awareness of the persisting gender gap in wages. Currently, Latinas in California experience a greater gender gap in wages relative to white men. Addressing the pay gap for Latinas will go a long way in ensuring that women and their families can thrive.”

“Equity and fairness should be the floor for all working people in our nation, including Latinas. Latinas across our country bring their strength, power and leadership to the workforce, which makes our economy and our country strong,” said Mónica Ramírez, Founder and President of Justice for Migrant Women. “Unfortunately, our contributions are only being met with a little more than half of what we are owed. This year’s Latina Equal Pay Day is a reminder to continue to fight for the economic potential and development of Latinas. We will not rest until we are fully and fairly compensated.”

“It is unacceptable that, on average, Latinas must work nearly twice as long as their white male counterparts to keep their families afloat,” said Jessica Ramey Stender, Policy Director & Deputy Legal Director of Equal Rights Advocates. “The wage gap harms Latinas during their working lives and into retirement. On Latina Equal Pay Day, and every day, we must raise awareness and demand the structural changes and stronger laws which are necessary to close the pay gap and advance economic security.”

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