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The system is failing Latinas and Black women

This Equal Pay Day, we’re sounding the alarm for the Latinas and Black women who have been pushed to the edge of poverty by Covid-19 and a system that’s long been stacked against them.

What you need to know

According to new research by LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey, half of Latinas and Black women have struggled to pay for basic necessities like rent and childcare in the past year—and half have less than $300 in savings to fall back on in an emergency.

This economic inequity predates Covid-19. On average, Latinas and Black women are paid less than white men and women.¹ They’re overrepresented in low-wage jobs.² They’re less likely to have access to benefits like paid leave.³ They’re more likely to be denied home loans.⁴ And the cost of childcare puts Latina and Black mothers in an impossible position—they need childcare to go to work, but paying for it can cut their income by more than half.⁵

These are systemic problems, and they require systemic solutions. Business leaders need to close the gender and racial pay gaps. And policy makers need to address the issues that disproportionately impact Black women and Latinas. That means raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, making childcare more accessible and affordable, and providing national paid family leave.

Read the op-ed by Rachel Thomas and Stacy Brown-Philpot in Fortune

Key findings


Many Latinas and Black women are struggling to cover basic expenses

49% of Latinas and 51% of Black women have had trouble paying for food, housing, or childcare in the past year. Latinas and Black women are twice as likely as white men to say they’ve struggled to afford these basic necessities for their families.


Half of Latinas and Black women have less than $300 in savings

Before Covid-19, about a third of Latinas and Black women had less than $300 to fall back on in an emergency. Now, those numbers have jumped to 47% of Latinas and 50% of Black women.


Covid-19 has been financially devastating for Latinas and Black women

Latinas and Black women are more than twice as likely as white men to say that the pandemic has had a “devastating” impact on their finances. More than 20% of Latinas and Black women feel this way, compared to just 9% of white men and 12% of white women.


Latinas and Black women are overrepresented in low-paying hourly jobs

Latinas and Black women are much more likely than white women and men to have hourly jobs—and among employees with hourly jobs, Latinas and Black women are 2.5 times as likely as white men to make less than $15 per hour.


Many Latinas and Black women can’t afford to take time off in an emergency

47% of Black women and 41% of Latinas have gone to work in the past year when they had a good reason to stay home, such as being sick or not having childcare.

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These findings are from an online poll conducted by LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey between February 16, 2021, and February 24, 2021. Our sample consists of approximately 7,600 U.S. adults ages 18 and over. For full results, visit this SurveyMonkey page.


  1. Jasmine Tucker, “The Wage Gap Has Robbed Women of Their Ability to Weather COVID-19,” National Women’s Law Center (March 2021),
  2. Jasmine Tucker and Kayla Patrick, “Low-Wage Jobs Are Women’s Jobs: The Overrepresentation of Women in Low-Wage Work,” National Women’s Law Center (August 2017),
  3. Nick Buffie, “Inequality in Benefits: Low-Wage Workers Have Little Access to Paid Leave,” Center for Economic and Policy Research (December 16, 2015),
  4. Khristopher J. Brooks, “Disparity in home lending costs minorities millions, researchers find” CBS News (November 15, 2019),
  5. Economic Policy Institute, “The Cost of Childcare in California” (October 2020),