Latina Pay: If I Get Paid 55 Cents on the Dollar, Can I Pay $55 of my $100 Grocery Bill? On MSNBC's Thomas Roberts Show

You've Come a Loooonnng way, Baby is many kinds of wrong. Selling ciggies by preying on women's wealth and career building aspirations is not cool. Nor is the fact that today, women still make less than men. As we write in Career/Money: 8 Alpha Female Salary Negotiation Tips, women make 77 cents on the dollar although it's important to note that significant gains are reported for single, childless, college-educated women between the ages of 22 and 30. They make 8% more than their male counterparts, according to a U.S. Census analysis.

For Latina women the situation is worse. On average, they make 55 cents on the dollar of white, non-Hispanic men which is what women in general were making 50 years ago when President John F. Kennedy signed into law the Equal Pay Act. If you're a female immigrant in this country illegally, it's really bad. They make even less and are vulnerable to workplace abuses. Unscrupulous bosses decide not to pay or worse, sexually assault women and get away with it after issuing threats to call La migra.

Latina_Pay_55 Cents_on_Dollar_MSNBC_Thomas_Roberts_Viviana_Hurtado-TheWiseLatinaClub

Let me get this straight: my wages are where other women's were 50 years ago, waaayyy before my time?

Nothing else is stuck half a century ago: not rent, not gas, not groceries and while we're on this topic, how about the next time I get to the cashier at ShopRite or Whole Foods, I look at the $100 tally and say:

I'll pay $55 of that, because I'm Latina and make 55 cents on the dollar.

Same thing with my mortgage.

Ditto on my new water heater.

It doesn't work that way.

So why should my earnings be subjected to this math? Besides marrying a wealthy man, what women make at work is the clearest path to start building wealth in the form of saving for a down payment on a house, retirement, or to send Yunior to college. With more money, we're able to buy more things, something hugely important for our consumer-based economy. Leveling the playing field for women's salaries has a positive and profound ripple effect on the economy--our families' and country's.

This is one of the topics discussed on MSNBC's Thomas Roberts Shows during the Agenda panel discussion with's Suzi Khimm and the managing editor of, Igor Volsky. We also discussed Edward Snowden, the leaker of some NSA surveillance or more accurately, "data-veillance" programs. There's sure more to this story. Let's also remember that key moving parts--telecommunications law and some of the outrage by the chattering class on privacy--are stuck in the 20th century. Americans' views of technology and privacy in the 21st century, in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and Vine are defined by a totally different sensibility of boundaries. Simply put, it takes very little, say, the chance to win an iPad, to bare all kinds of personal information. That's not to say that civil liberties--privacy and Fourth amendment protections against search and seizures--aren't relevant as is the question, what will the government do with that information. In fact, these issues are more urgent than ever. But to understand what's at stake and chart the best protections and policies going forward, we must be clear about the context. Apples to apple, no?

Click below to view this episode which aired on June 10, 2013.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Back to the main topic (although feel free to sound off on technology, privacy, and surveillance), what will it take to bridge the wage gap between women and men?