Editorial: Wage Justice for Women

Latinas are the most affected by the gender wage gap.
Editorial: Wage Justice for Women

Gender inequality in compensation is a serious problem in the job market. The wage gap has nothing to do with educational level disparities or with women coming from lower-income sectors. Several studies confirm that, whether they are surgeons or factory workers, women are paid less money than their male colleagues.

It is estimated that a woman makes 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. If she is African-American, the amount goes down to 64 cents, and if she is Latina, to 55. That is why the Latina Equal Pay Day was recently created.

This means that a Hispanic woman must work until October of the following year ‒ that is, a 22-month year ‒ to earn the same as a white man doing a similar job. If this gap is projected over the course of 40 years of working life, Latinas lose over a million dollars when compared to men. In other works, Latinas must work 73 years to make the same amount, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Although the difference would be reduced, this breach cannot be solved with better education, unlike other financial gaps. A Latina with a Master’s degree makes 38 cents per dollar less than men, while she would make 42 cents less per dollar if she had not finished high school. This is across-the-board gender discrimination in labor.

An alternative to remedy this situation is updating the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by imposing more oversight on the hiring procedures that allow companies to perpetuate this unevenness. That was the purpose of the Paycheck Fairness Act killed in the Senate in 2014 when the Republican opposition failed to see the measure as a solution, instead deeming it a Democratic maneuver to make them look bad in front of the female electorate.

This excuse is absurd. It seeks to politicize the issue to dismiss the importance of a reality that harms half of the population. They want to maintain an unfair and unacceptable system that has no place in a modern society.