Things are bien duro out there for Latinas in the workforce.
A report released Tuesday by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that, more than any group in the United States, Latinas lag behind white men the most when it comes to income.
On average, Latinas make only 54% of what an average white man makes, according to the AAUW, which analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In other words, it takes a Latina about two years to earn what the average white man earns in one.
While Asian men make more money than white men on average, they’re still a numerical minority. The "largest demographic group in the labor force" remains white men, according to the AAUW, so they’re still the barometer against which everyone else is measured.
Still, with the exception of Asian men, white men earn more than anyone else. On average, black women make about 64% of what a white man makes, while white women make 75%. Meanwhile, Asian women are the highest-earning of their peers, pulling in an average 85% of what a white man makes.
Why is this the case? One reason is that the range of wages people can expect to make are still largely tied to the ethnic group they belong to, and Latinxs are at the bottom of the hierarchy, the AAUW found. Interestingly, Latinas make 92% of what Latino men make—the smallest gender-pay gap among the report’s represented groups. But this bright spot is undercut by the fact that as a whole, Latinxs are on the bottom of the earning ladder.
Every other ethnic group has a narrower range of average wages when compared to white people, which means the latter’s fiscal prospects are not as limited by their race. The difference between the average wages of Latinas and Latinos is around $3,000; for black women and men, it's $4,000; but for white women and men, it's $13,000.
Detractors have tried to explain away the gender-pay gap by citing other factors: Women tend to go into professions with lower pay, have are traditionally less educated (though that particular gap is rapidly vanishing), and face barriers at work for being mothers or of child-rearing age.
But studies suggest that even as young women become more educated than young men, and move into jobs traditionally held by men, wages in those industries decrease overall. This holds true when controlled for education, work experience, race, and geographical distribution. What’s more, this gap persists within occupations, not just between them.
The gender-pay gap is narrowing, but at a glacial pace. Based on the AAUW’s calculations, at the current rate, we won't reach wage equality until the year 2152—or 136 years from now. Math is a universal language, so everyone—but especially Latinas—should be able to see that this is an unacceptable equation.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.