On the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, the most popular statistic cited seems to be that women on average earn just 77 cents to every man’s dollar. But if you dig deeper into Census Bureau data, there’s another stat that highlights an even more vulnerable demographic: Latinas, who are paid just 60 cents for every dollar paid to men.
“What Latinas are making…that’s what women in general were making 50 years ago when President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay into law,” said Viviana Hurtado, founder and editor-in-chief of the Wise Latina Club, on msnbc Monday. “We haven’t come a long way.”
It’s true that when John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963, women made up only one-third of the national workforce and earned 59 cents for every dollar a man earned. Fast forward half a century, and Latinas overall earn just one cent more for every dollar paid to men.
“Does anyone here think that’s good enough,” said President Obama on Monday, after detailing the pay gap that hits minority women hardest. “I assume everyone thinks we can do better? Yes we can!”
Hurtado explained on msnbc Monday that working-class Latinas who contribute “a lion’s share” to their families’ budgets are particularly affected by the wage gap. This trend is partly an extension of the education gap–which, as recently as 2000, saw fewer than half of Latinos enrolled in college within months after finishing high school, according a recent report from the Pew Research Hispanic Center.
But even as more Latinos go on to pursue higher education (the Pew report found record high college enrollment rates among Latino students in 2012), studies show that the wage gap will still be waiting for Latinas after graduation. For example, a NerdScholar analysis found wage disparities to be especially pronounced in jobs that required more, not less education.
“Some of the stumbling blocks for women are not coming from the fact they are not engaging in the workforce,” said Adriana Kugler, former Labor Department chief economist and Georgetown University professor, to NBCLatino. “They are coming from the workplace itself.”
Watch host Thomas Roberts discuss the latest on the wage gap with Monday’s Agenda panel: msnbc.com’s Suzy Khimm, Think Progress’ Igor Volsky, and the Wise Latina Club’s Viviana Hurtado.