Latinas and Financial Literacy (part 1)

with Amy Hinojosa of MANA, A National Latina Organization

National Economy and Business

About 1 in 5 women in the U.S. today is Hispanic with projected growth to 1 in 3 by the year 2060. While recent statistics have shown that the gender wage gap in the U.S. has improved, Latinas remain on the lower end of the pay spectrum.

Amy Hinojosa, President and CEO of MANA, A National Latina Organization discusses the role of financial literacy in empowering Hispanic women.  This discussion continues in part 2 of Latinas and Financial Literacy.

Interview recorded Sept 6, 2017.  Hosted by Robert Traynham.  Part 1 of 2.

Read a partial transcript of this interview below:

Traynham: The gender wage gap in the United States has improved in recent years with women earning 83% of what their male counterparts earned. However, for the Latina population, the gap widens, unfortunately, as Hispanic women can earn 54 cents to the dollar made by their white male counterparts. Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Comcast Newsmakers.” I´m Robert Traynham. Joining me is Amy Hinojosa, President and CEO of MANA, a National Latino Organization. Amy, welcome to the program.

Hinojosa: Thank you for having me.

Traynham: You know, as I mentioned a few moments ago, there´s some good news and bad news. The good news is that it seems like the pay equity gap is closing, as I mentioned, but not unfortunately for Latino women. Why is that the case?

Hinojosa: Unfortunately, I think, Latino women overall, we find ourselves in jobs that are on the lower end of the pay spectrum when you think about housekeeping jobs, when you think about service industry jobs. Those are predominantly the areas where you´re gonna find mostly Hispanics employed, and particularly women.

Traynham: So, we know the problem. How do we fix it?

Hinojosa: So, what we do at MANA through our chapter and affiliate network across the country, we are very specific about partnering with expert content partners such as the Women´s Institute for Secure Retirement, Freddie Mac, and others, and we´ve developed a trainer-trainer program for our chapter and affiliate network. What we do each year is take a group of women who are already leaders in their community, who already function as trusted sources of information in their community. We train them on financial literacy, everything from very basic financial literacy concepts of opening a bank account, the importance of that, credit, and on up through the varying levels of financial education, including home ownership.

Traynham: So Amy, it´s funny you mention that ´cause I was thinking to myself, yeah, that´s great in terms of financial literacy and making sure that you feel empowered, that you have all the financial tools at your disposal, especially when it comes to interest rates and so forth, and not being taken advantage of. But if I am a female, and I´m working in the industry, how do I — I´m only getting paid what my boss tells me that I´m getting paid. Should I be doing something different in the workforce? Should I be going to my boss and saying, look, I´ve done my research here, and my male counterparts make significantly more for the same exact job, for the same exact educational background. In other words, how can I be empowered to do — to advocate for myself?

Hinojosa: So I think you´re absolutely right, that there are times when folks should do their research and see what their male counterparts are making, and really ask the questions. But I think oftentimes, women don´t — women or anyone in the workforce feels empowered enough to ask those questions.

Traynham: Why do you think that´s the case? Why do you think women, and quite frankly, other minorities, feel like, I don´t have a voice, or I can´t speak up? Is it respect for authority? Is it the fact that they´re afraid that they may get fired or —

Hinojosa: In many cases, it´s respect for authority. It´s also, in many cases, they just don´t want to jeopardize the job that they´ve got, jeopardize their family lives in the process of trying to make a point, which is one of reasons why we at MANA, in addition to the community education piece, we also advocate at federal, state, and local levels to work with whether it´s corporations, whether it´s the local government to really look at why this is happening and how we can fix it.

Traynham: This conversationis only beginning.Click the link belowfor more of our discussion.