The wage gap between men and women has been a prevalent topic of discussion around the world. The wage gap discriminates against gender, meaning that men make much more money than women. However, women of color take a harder hit than white women, more specifically Latinas. According to the National Women’s Law Center, for every one dollar a white non-hispanic male makes, a Latina makes just 54% of that. Additionally, according to the Center for American Progress, African American women make 64%, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women make 65%, American Indian and Alaskan Native women make 59%, and Asian American women make 90% of that dollar. Not only are women being discriminated against based on their gender, but their race too. This puts all women in an unfair and unfavorable position, especially if they are the breadwinners in their family.
We are told that to create a better future for ourselves, we should go to college. Though there are many great reasons to go to college, it can still put us women at a disadvantage. According to Lean In, the wage gap increases for women at higher education levels. The gap is the widest for Latinas who have bachelor’s and advanced degrees. While a white male’s average weekly earnings with a bachelor’s degree is $1,428, a Latina with a bachelor’s makes $914. For an advanced degree, a white male’s average weekly earnings is $1,836, while a Latina with an advanced degree makes $1,158.
On the topic of higher education, earning a degree means student loan debt for many of us. According to Bustle, student loan debt disproportionately impacts women. The article found that women who graduated in 2008 from college paid back 33% of their debt by 2012, while their male counterparts were able to pay back 44% of their debt in 5 years. Again, this disporpotionement widens with women of color. African American women were able to pay an average of 9% of their student loan debt, and Latinas paid just 3% of their debt.
Even when we are trying to get ahead, society still manages to put barriers against us.
Pink Means More
The Bustle article also points out something I personally never thought about. It mentions how in addition to getting paid less, women also pay more for personal care items that men also need, such as deodorant. The pink tax is real. Women get charged more, and it costs them $1,355 more a year for the exact same products used by men. In that article, it is also mentioned that over the course of a lifetime, the pink tax can cost women an extra $100,000 for the same products that men use. That money can be used for better things such as paying off student loans or buying a home.
The Gap Hurts Everyone
The pay wage gap does not only directly hurt women, it also affects their families. With less income, this means there could be difficulty in paying for groceries, childcare, or paying for their children’s education. We should be able to pave the way for better opportunities for our future generations, especially our next generation of women. Equal pay can be the beginning to a more stable future and economy, and will do the entire world more good than bad.
It is almost the year 2020, all women must be paid equal. For some it may not be about the money, but rather the fact that we have the right to be treated with the same respect as men. It is time that we get the same opportunities as men. We work just as hard if not more to earn our place. Women have much to offer, and we deserve all the money that our skills and qualifications are worth.