BY SARAH MORENO
Five extra months of rent, nine months of child care and nearly four months of health insurance.
That’s what women in the United States could afford if their salaries were the same as men’s.
The salary gap is still pummeling working women, and particularly those who are heads of family like many Hispanics, according to the latest report by the National Partnership for Women & Families (NPWF).
The report, based on U.S. Census data, calculated the differences in average salaries among men and women who work full time in each of the 50 states.
In Florida, women earn 87 cents for each dollar earned by a man, a difference of $5,515 per year.
But for a Latina woman in Florida, the picture is more dire. A Hispanic woman earns only 60 cents for each dollar earned by a White non-Hispanic male, a gap of $20,380 per year, on average, in the state.
“If that salary gap is eliminated, Latinas in Florida could pay for 34 additional months of child care or more than 14 months of a health insurance offered by employers,” Jessica Mason, a senior analyst with the NPWF, told el Nuevo Herald.
Mason said the gap is the result of factors such as racial and gender discrimination, workplace harassment, job segregation and a lack of workplace policies that support family care-giving.
The results of the study were published April 1, on the eve of Equal Pay Day, established in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE).
The date changes from year to year, and the 2019 date was set for April 2 because that’s how far into the year women must have worked to earn what men earned in 2018.
At the national level, Latin women earn 53 cents for every dollar earned by a White non-Hispanic male; Native American women earn 58 cents; African-American women earn 61 cents; White non-Hispanic women earn 77 cents; and Asian women earn 85 cents.
In dollar numbers, a Latin woman earns an average of $32,002 per year compared with the $60,388 average annual income of a White non-Hispanic male — a difference of $28,386.
The salary gap also affects career Latinas. The average salary of a Latina executive is $71,362, $61,781 for a computer specialist.
The average non-Hispanic White male in those jobs earns more than $100,000 per year.
THE BIGGEST GAP
The states with the biggest salary gaps were Louisiana, Utah, Indiana and Alabama. The gap was particularly damaging to the mothers of children under 18 who are the main wage earners. They earn 71 cents for every dollar earned by the fathers.
“The wage gap is even larger for many women of color, who face the intersecting harms of gender- and race-based discrimination,” Mason added.
She noted that even in states like Florida, which has one of the smallest salary gaps, the impact on women is considerable because that money would be used to pay for housing, food and services. Florida has one of the lowest wage gaps, ranking fourth from the bottom.
“The loss of basic necessities or life-changing opportunities is no small matter,” Mason added.
NPWF President Debra L. Ness argued that salary inequality is not the result of any single cause and therefore has no easy solution. She added that the Paycheck Fairness Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week to combat salary discrimination, was “encouraging.”
Ness also supports raising the federal minimum wage and eliminating the lower salaries allowed for employees who receive tips and those who are disabled. She also supports national regulations for health and family leaves and quality healthcare.