Keeping up with your male counterparts is difficult in the face of wage discrimination. It is even harder to keep up if you are a Latina living in the state of Texas. Nationally, Latina women make, on average, 54 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn. In Texas, it is even less. Hispanic women in Texas make only about 44 cents on the dollar compared to men.
When we are talking about cents on the dollar, it is easy to lose track of the impact this has on Latina women. But over the course of a year, it really adds up. In order to be able to work, many Latina women also need to pay for childcare. Bridging the wage gap would mean more leftover after paying for daycare expenses.
With Texas and California having the highest number of Latina women working full time and year round, you would think that they would be closer to closing this wage gap. In reality? They are among the country’s worst offenders.
Of course this is important to the individual Hispanic women who are struggling, unnecessarily, to make ends meet. But what does that mean for the community? In Houston, of the nearly 6,000 family households, women head over 20 percent of those.
A wage gap this big puts many of those households below the poverty line. These women are not in a position where they are trying to supplement the household income. They are trying to survive. And the gap is the difference between needing government assistance and being able to afford groceries.
Making less money affects more than the total household income. It affects the value a woman feels about her contribution to the workforce. Paying a woman (of any race) equal to her male counterparts communicates that her work is valuable.