The idea that owning a business can help build generational wealth and close wage gaps helped drive about 2 million Latinas into entrepreneurship in the United States. Before the pandemic, Latinas were creating businesses at a rate six times faster than all other groups, including White men and Latinos, and some data suggests that trend has continued.

Currently, Latinas face the widest gender pay gap of any group, according to the most recent census data, earning just 52 cents for every $1 earned by White men. Latina Equal Pay Day, marked October 5, draws attention to that disparity.

Much of that gap is due to the overrepresentation of Latinas in the lowest paid and most volatile jobs in the country. About a third of the service sector is Latinas, the same field that faced the most job loss at the start of the pandemic. Latina unemployment hit 20.2 percent in April 2020 — the third-highest rate ever recorded in a single month and the highest ever by a group of women.

Latinas have recovered that job loss in an extraordinarily short period of time, and economists have attributed some of that recovery to entrepreneurship. Latinas are the most likely group to have young children and also older relatives under their care, leading them to seek more flexible work arrangements. Latinas are also among the most likely to face discrimination, microaggressions and barriers to advancement at work.

Business ownership has offered another path to that economic stability many Latinx immigrants come to the United States seeking. Still, it’s a hard road with its own with stubborn barriers, but if those barriers can come down for Latinas, experts said, it could help close racial wealth and wage gaps.

Read the full article about pay gaps for Latina women by Chabeli Carrazana at The19th.