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Breaking Down Barriers: Latinas in the US Economy

March 17, 2023

Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Financial Freedom Through Advocacy and Education

¡Mujeres Latinas! Did you know that we’re an indispensable force that drives the US economy forward? That’s right, ladies. It’s time we all stand tall and proud, because we’re doing huge things for the country’s economy. So much so that the State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report found that between 2007 and 2012, Latina-owned businesses grew by a whopping 87% – that’s way higher than the national average of 27%. 

Big pat on the back to us! But, let’s be real. We still face plenty of challenges when it comes to achieving financial freedom. For some of us, this is still a foreign concept and a goal that may feel out of reach. If we want to change that, we need to start by talking about it. So let’s do that NOW and get to work on achieving our money goals.

Understanding the Issues

Defining the obstacles that hold us back is the first step to overcoming them. By addressing these issues, we can begin to work toward our success. 

Personal experience and research tells us that theseare some of the most pressing obstacles to break down. ¡Sí se puede!

The Wage Gap

Let’s start by addressing the main issue that Latinas face in the workforce: the wage gap. According to the National Women’s Law Center Wage Gap Fact Sheet, in 2020 the average woman earned just $0.82 for every dollar earned by men. But, for US Latinas, the gap is even wider.

On average, Latinas earn only $0.57 for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. This means that Latinas must work 22 months – almost two years – to earn what a white, non-Hispanic man earns in 12 months. And let’s not forget about our undocumented Latina sisters, who often work in low-paying jobs without access to benefits or legal protections.

This wage gap has serious consequences for our financial well-being and economic mobility. When we earn less, we have fewer opportunities to save for retirement, invest in ourselves, or accumulate wealth. After decades, this results in a lower overall economic status and higher risk of poverty for Latina women and their families.

Lack of Financial Education

Next on our list of challenges for Latinas in this country is the lack of access to financial education and resources. Many of us come from immigrant families and may not have the opportunity to learn about personal finance in the same way that other Americans have. This can make it difficult to make informed decisions about our hard-earned money and achieve the financial freedom that we deserve.

A big part of the issue is the lack of culturally relevant financial education. Many programs don’t take our unique needs and experiences into account, making it even harder for us to build credit, save for retirement, or invest in our future. This is especially true for Latinas who primarily speak Spanish as there isn’t that much information about the US economy in Spanish. With this language barrier to overcome, Latina women may struggle to manage their money, understand the financial products available to them, and navigate the banking system. 

Systemic Barriers

The truth is, Latinas face numerous social, economic, and political barriers that reinforce inequality and leave us at a serious economic disadvantage. Discrimination, segregation, lack of affordable housing and healthcare, and limited access to credit are just a few of the challenges that we must overcome. These obstacles make it even harder for us to build wealth and achieve financial security for ourselves and our families.

What this means is that, unfortunately, many of us Latinas don’t have the luxury of receiving an inheritance or passing assets down to our children. We often lack the type of generational wealth that creates financial stability and opportunities for upward mobility.

What You Can Do: Steps to Achieving Financial Freedom

When you’re a hard-working Latina who wants to create a better future, the reality can be disheartening. But don’t worry, mis queridas, we’re not helpless! Despite the challenges, there is much that we can do to achieve financial freedom. 

Whether you’re a Latina or an ally, these are the steps we can all take today to benefit our community and the generations to come:

  1. Advocate for pay equality. We need to continue pushing for policies that ensure Latina women receive equal pay for equal work, and vote for candidates who will make this a priority. Promoting diversity and inclusion also  includes supporting legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act and advocating for fair labor practices in our workplaces.
  2. Support Latina-owned businesses. We can support Latina entrepreneurs by choosing to shop at their businesses and investing in their ventures. By doing so, we can create more economic opportunities for our communities.
  3. Participate in community-based financial education programs. From workshops, to mentorship programs, and online tools there are many resources out there to help us prioritize our financial literacy. By thinking outside the box of traditional financial education, you can tap into a wealth of knowledge to help you transform your approach to money.
  4. Speak your mind. Addressing these issues requires a concerted effort from educators, community leaders, financial institutions, and policymakers. By voting and supporting grassroots efforts, you can empower yourself and the next generation of Latinas to achieve financial independence.

¡Hacia Adelante!

Despite the significant challenges that we face, Latinas are a vital part of the US economy. Imagine the possibilities, if we’re able to overcome the barriers that have historically slowed down our growth? That’s why closing the wage gap, ensuring equal education opportunities, and providing access to resources are crucial to our future.

If you’re ready to take control of your finances and achieve your money goals, let’s do it together! Tune into the latest Chancleta Generation for some real talk about dinero, culturally relevant insights, and plenty of inspo to help us all reach our full potential.

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