SAN DIEGO – Latinas earn on average only 42 cents to the dollar paid to White, non-Latino men in California despite making up 20% of the state’s workforce – the largest pay gap of any demographic group in the nation.
As part of the California Latino Legislative Caucus’ Unseen Latinas Initiative, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) was joined today by Latina elected officials – including Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), Legislative Women’s Caucus Chair Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Assemblywoman Lisa Calderon (D-Whittier) representing the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Vice Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Nora Vargas, and Mayor of National City Alejandra Sotelo-Solis – as well as other San Diego leaders like Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas), to call for an end to Latinas’ worsening wage disparities in California.
In honor of Latina Equal Pay Day, Assemblywoman Gonzalez convened Latina experts and community leaders for an informational hearing by the Assembly Select Committee on Latina Inequities to highlight the impacts of the pay gap to Latinas and their families and make recommendations to advance equal pay in California.
“From hotel housekeepers to surgeons, Latina workers consistently experience the largest pay gap of any demographic group in the nation,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who spearheaded the Unseen Latinas initiative. “In California, Latinas have worked yet another year without progress. We can’t afford to wait any longer to reach parity, which is why we need to be intentional about pushing for targeted solutions that focus on upward social and economic mobility for Latinas.”
Panelists for the hearing included: California Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower, Executive Director of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls Holly Martinez, Founding Director of the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative Sonja Diaz, Policy Director for Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Vanessa Spagnoli, Sarah Crawford with the National Women’s Law Center, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council Liz Ortega, Senior Counsel for Workplace Justice & Public Policy with Equal Rights Advocates Jessica Stender, Fresno educator Aileen Rizo who fought an eight-year battle over equal pay, and UNITE HERE Local 30 member Karen Betancourt.
“California has the largest wage for Latinas in the nation –– a difference of $3,800 a month,” said Sarah Crawford with the National Women’s Law Center. “The wage gap means many Latinas can’t save money for a down payment for a home or start a business. We need to remove barriers to entry into male-dominated fields and lift Latinas out of low-paying jobs.”
“It is unacceptable that Latinas are still paid 57 cents for every dollar a white man in the same position makes,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley). “By paying our Latina women less, we are sending a harmful message to our Latinx communities that Latina women’s contributions should be valued less than those of men. As a Latina woman, I have made it a priority of mine to advocate against this institutional racism and sexism built into our society – all women, including Latinas, deserve the same financial opportunities that men are always given.”
“I see the amazing contributions Latina women make to our society every day when I look at my wife,” said Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Standing amongst all of the Latina women here today, and speaking directly to the Latina women throughout our nation, I will always fight for your rights to be paid fairly, to be given an opportunity to advance in your careers, and be your ally as we push back against systemic inequalities.”
The Unseen Latinas Initiative was launched in October 2020 with the goal of highlighting the growing inequities that Latinas in California experience in economic outcomes and career and leadership opportunities in all industries.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County, including the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, and National City. She serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Latina Inequities. For more information on Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, visit http://asm.ca.gov/gonzalez