As the U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow, it is becoming evident that the main influencers in those homes are women. Yet despite their impact, they still lag in earnings compared to women of any race or ethnicity.
According to “Latina 2.0,” a report by Nielsen last year, Latinas are trendsetters. They drive trends in community, beauty, style, technology, and other areas, as data shows they are rapidly re-defining the American face of achievement. They are the ones achieving higher educational attainment, becoming entrepreneurs, and are heavy users of new technology. They are trusted by people around them when it comes to advice for purchasing decisions and they tend to spend more at warehouse club stores than non-Hispanic whites.
Nielsen shows Latinas lead the pack when it comes to smartphone ownership, reporting they are 15 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white women to do so. They are early adopters of tech gadgets like smart watches and spend at least 22 hours a week engaging with content online with their devices. Among video game system users? Once again, they lead white women.
Their love of technology translates to how they engage with brands. More Latinas use social media to support their favorite company or brand or leave public reviews or ratings. When compared to non-Hispanic white women, they are also more likely to use certain apps like Snapchat (96 percent higher), Instagram (64 percent higher), Spotify (59 percent) and both Google-Plus and Pandora (58 percent higher each).
So, if U.S. Latinas are such heavy influencers on consumer purchasing, that must mean they have more pocketbook power at the register, right? In fact, that’s where their power ends.
Latinas currently represent 7.2 percent of the total U.S. workforce and in five years, 2024, they’ll be up to 8.5 percent.
Yet despite such growth, Latinas represent less than 1 percent of corporate executives in the U.S., according to data from the Hispanic Association On Corporate Responsibility. One of the reasons is that Latinas face barriers in promotion. More than half (52%) say that scaling the executive ladder means having to conform to traditionally white male standards, according to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation. All of this means that they inevitably earn less than white men.
Even outside corporate leadership, they face significant wage gaps compared to non-Hispanics of both genders.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, Hispanic women made 57 percent of what white men made that year while white women earned 80 percent of what white men earned. So not only are Latinas struggling to gain wage equity in the workforce with men, they even lag behind other women in the workforce.
The disparity has real consequences for the Hispanic home. Sixty percent of Latina mothers are the primary or co-breadwinners of their families. Which means that if they earn less, these households will suffer, creating more economic insecurity for these households and increased difficulties for their children to close that gap.
The dichotomy between being valued at the cash register and devalued at the workplace is a tough one to comprehend. On one hand, we recognize how important Latinas are in pushing forward trends in new media; in fact, their passion for technology and other products is infectious, influencing their circle of friends and family more than non-Hispanic female whites. On the other hand, Latinas are not recognized as equals in the company pay ledger.
Their ability to show such passion with fewer resources is a testament to their role as influencers. These are people with great pride and enthusiasm for being individuals. As more attention is brought on overall gender income disparity, Latinas will thrive even more. Because it’s what they do best.
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