According to a report released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), the gender pay gap between Hispanic women and white men in the U.S. is larger than that of any other demographic. Researchers estimated that it would take 232 years for Hispanic women to catch up and close the gap.
“These projections show just how slow the rate of progress has been in closing the wage gap,” said the program director on Employment and Earnings for IWPR, Ariane Hegewisch. “And for Black and Hispanic women, it’s glacially slow.”
Furthermore, a new analysis by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) revealed that the typical Latina earns about $1 million less than a male employee in a similar job over the course of a 40 year career. This gap is the widest in Washington D.C. at $1.8 million, followed by California, Illinois, and Texas at $1.3 million.
“The wage gap leaves a gaping hole in Latinas’ pocketbooks,” said NWLC Director of Workplace Equality Maya Raghu. “The average lifespan of a Latina is 84 years. This means that a Latina needs to start working at age 10 and work until the day she dies to earn what a white, non-Hispanic man earns in 40 years.”
Ultimately, the kinds of jobs available to Hispanic women proved to be a major contributor to the wage gap. In 2015, 15.3% of the total Hispanic population was employed as a hairdresser. There are roughly 663,300 hair stylists working in the U.S., and many do make a decent salary. However, it isn’t one of the country’s higher paying jobs.
Those in the tech industry, like software developers who create applications, video games, and operating systems, tend to have a much greater income. Unfortunately, in 2015, only one percent of all software developers in the U.S. were Latina or Hispanic women. In fact, only 18% were women of any ethnicity.
In their report, IWPR suggested several solutions to the massive gender and ethnic wage gap, including increasing wages for lower paying jobs and enforcing non-discrimination laws.
“Over the long-term, we need to improve access to an affordable college education and better paying jobs,” said Hegewisch. “There are plenty of things that can be done to see pay equality sooner.”