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Latinas in U.S. earn 54 cents for every dollar a white male makes

Government figures show that Latinas in the United States are paid on average 54 cents for every dollar that a white, non-Hispanic male makes. That means it takes Latinas about 23 months of working to earn the annual income of male workers.

A coalition of nongovernmental organizations is marking the Latina Women's Equal Pay Day on Wednesday, highlighting the day on the calendar when the average Latina, working both 2018 and into most of 2019, matches the 2018 income by white men.

Latinas "are facing this double whammy of racism and sexism combined," said Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women's Law Center. Even "when they are getting higher levels of education they are still getting paid less," she said.

Tucker said the numbers are "devastating" because the trend has remained unaltered for decades, making it harder for Hispanic families to build wealth through generations. Latino males are paid 65 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, according to federal statistics. The wage gap is greatest for foreign-born Latinas, who are paid 38 cents to the dollar.

About 12 million Latinas in the United States work full time and about 2 million are domestic workers and 1 million are farmworkers, said Mónica Ramírez, who founded Justice for Migrant Women.

Paola Hernández, a member of the UFW Foundation who has been a farmworker in Washington state for the past 30 years, said her male counterparts usually get paid higher.

"They are seen as stronger and more able to operate heavy machinery," said the 54-year old Mexican immigrant who aspires to get a job as a cashier next year. "A woman is never allowed to operate a tractor."

Equal pay advocates said Wednesday that Congress passing the Paycheck Fairness Act would help eliminate the Latina wage disparity. The legislation — among other things — would prohibit employers from considering salary history as the basis for salaries, encourage pay equity, and more.

"Latinas should not have to work nearly 23 months to be paid what white, non-Hispanic men are paid in 12," Xochitl Oseguera, national director for Moms Rising, an advocacy group that lobbies against discrimination toward women and mothers, said in a statement.

The group's CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner said in a statement that the Latina pay gap hurts more than just Hispanic women. "These punitive gaps persist across occupations and levels of education, and they harm individuals, families, communities and our economy," Rowe-Finkbeiner said.

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