It’s been more than 50 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and today: Women are still getting paid less than men. Particularly Latina women, who are the most adversely affected by the gender pay gap compared to all other women. This year, November 20th marks Latina Equal Pay Day. That means that Latina women had to work all of 2018 until this day in 2019 to earn what white men made in 2018 alone.
Despite being a driving force in entrepreneurship and economic growth, Latina women earn 54 cents to every white, non-Hispanic dollar and must work nearly 23 months to earn what white men earn in a year. With a population of 27.9 million Latinas living in the U.S., the growing demographic has not resulted in a decrease in the wage gap.
According to a new study from the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI), almost 50% of all Latino business growth from 2007-2015 came from firms started by Latina women compared to growth rates for white (13%) and black (20%) female entrepreneurs. Today, Latina women now make up 44% of all Latino businesses.
However, SLEI also found that although Latinos are starting businesses at a higher rate than any other ethnic group, scaling still remains a challenge. While the current growth is impressive, Latina-owned and operated firms tend to be small. There are only 30% of the Latino firms owned by women with $1 million or more in annual revenue.
There are many economic benefits of investing in Latina and minority women-owned businesses, in general. A recent Endeavor report urges us to pay more attention to minority entrepreneurs because they are more likely to give back monetarily and directly impact their local communities. These entrepreneurs tend to hire other minority employees to work for their companies while also having the financial means for philanthropic action. Most importantly, they help reduce the racial wealth gap that exists for families of color by creating generational wealth through entrepreneurship.
No matter the occupation, location, education, or experience level, Latinas are undercompensated across all industries compared to white men. This disparity and loss of revenue not only hurts Latinas, but also their families and the local communities they support. Entrepreneurship has increasingly become a way for Latinas to acquire wealth and financial stability. Still, closing the wage gap and addressing the challenges Latinas face every day will require year-round work.