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Assembly Select Committee on Latina Inequities Sheds Light on the Economic Status of Latinas in California

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  • Unai Montes
  • (310) 962-7369

Chaired by Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, the Assembly Select Committee on Latina Inequities Discussed the HOPE 2024 Economic State of Latinas Report (ESLR)

SACRAMENTO - State legislators, key academics, industry experts, government liaisons, and community advocates convened today for an informational hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Latina Inequities, Chaired by Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, to discuss the Economic Status of Latinas in California. The committee explored the findings of the 2024 Economic Status of Latinas in California Report by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), discussed systemic barriers causing persistent wage gaps for Latina workers, and heard from industry experts about policy recommendations for achieving economic parity for Latinas.

“Today's hearing underscores the urgent need to address the economic inequities faced by Latinas in California. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to HOPE for their tireless advocacy, and to all the panelists who participated in the discussions for their invaluable contributions,” said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D- Los Angeles), Chair of the Select Committee on Latina Inequities. “Latinas are not only a significant portion of California's population but also vital contributors to our economy and communities. As we delve into the systemic barriers they face, it becomes clear that advocating for Latinas in decision-making spaces is not just a matter of fairness, but a necessity for our state's prosperity. I am committed to working alongside my colleagues and stakeholders to turn the insights gained from today's hearing into actionable policies that uplift and empower Latinas across our state."

Latinas represent a significant portion of California's population, comprising 20% of the state's total population and 40% of all women, and demonstrate notable strides in educational attainment and increasing economic influence. Yet, persistent disparities remain. Despite exhibiting positive economic trajectories, Latinas continue to face vulnerabilities due to comparatively lower per capita incomes and educational achievements when compared to their White counterparts. Disparities in wealth, such as variations in homeownership rates and the diversity of financial assets, leave Latinas particularly susceptible to economic fluctuations and downturns. The hearing, titled "Economic Status of Latinas in California,” included expert testimony from Helen Iris Torres, CEO of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) and Elsa Macias, PhD., lead researcher of the HOPE 2024 Economic Status of Latinas in California Report, who provided an overview of the report and walked the select committee through its findings.

"Today’s hearing marks a pivotal moment in our collective pursuit of equity and prosperity for Latinas in California. The findings of our 2024 Economic State of Latinas Report underscore the urgency of our mission: to dismantle systemic barriers and pave the way for inclusive economic growth,” said Helen Iris Torres, CEO of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). “Together, let us forge a future where every Latina has the opportunity to thrive, where her potential knows no bounds. Our commitment to this cause is unwavering, and our resolve stronger than ever."

The Select Committee hearing also included expert testimony from: 

  • Stephanie A. Pulles, PhD., Workforce Data Officer of the California Civil Rights Department 
  • Sonja Diaz, Esq., Co-Founder of UCLA Latina Futures, 2050 Lab
  • Natalia Vega Varela, Director of Policy, Gender Equity Policy Institute (GEPI)
  • Dr. Rita Gallardo Good, Commissioner, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG)

Key takeaways from the hearing, as highlighted in the HOPE ESLR, included: 

  • Population Finding: Between 2020 to 2022, California witnessed an overall decrease of -1.3% in its total population. However, the Hispanic population remained largely unchanged, showing an increase of around 350,000 individuals. Across the majority of major metropolitan areas where Latinos are concentrated, their proportion of the total population saw an uptick.
  • Economic Finding: In 2022, Latinas in California earned just 42 cents for every dollar earned by a White, non-Hispanic man, in contrast to 71 cents for White women.
  • Business and Financial Literacy Finding: Between 2018 and 2021, the amount of Latina-owned employer businesses in California surged by 26.5%, from 16,560 to 20,943, and generated close to 147,000 jobs with an annual payroll amounting to $5.92 billion.
  • Education Finding: In 2022, over 18% of Latinas aged 25 and older in California possessed at least a bachelor’s degree, marking an increase of nearly 2 percentage points from the 2018 statistic. However, this percentage remained substantially lower than the nearly 48% of White women who held similar educational attainment.
  • Health Finding: A significant portion of Black women, 40%, and Latinas, 37%, indicated encountering discrimination during maternity care. Between  2018 and 2020, the maternal mortality rate among Black women in California reached 45.8 per 100,000 births, exceeding that of any other racial group.
  • Latina Leadership Finding: In 2021, Latinas held just 1.5% of corporate board seats in the state of California. Although the representation of Latinas on corporate boards doubled between 2020 and 2021, it remained remarkably low with Latinas holding 3.3% of board seats by 2023.

The hearing explored policy recommendations which include investing in the financial prosperity of Latinas. This includes making investments that broaden access to economic resources, facilitate the building of wealth across generations, enhance participation in financial education initiatives, and foster the sustainable growth of small businesses owned by Latinas. 

The Assembly Select Committee on Latina Inequities was established for policy makers to hold hearings with an eye towards developing a more complete understanding of the issues that Latinas face in California. The goal is to gather fact-based information and insight from academic and government stakeholders, and others that will help policymakers develop appropriate strategies and responses, where necessary.

For additional information and a copy of the agenda, please visit:


About Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo

Assemblywoman Carrillo was elected to serve in the State Assembly in December 2017. She represents the 52nd Assembly District, which includes East Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles, and South Glendale. She serves on the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Emergency Management, Health, Labor and Employment, and the Joint Committee on Climate Change Policies. She also serves as the Chair of the Select Committee on Latina Inequities, Vice Chair of the Legislative Progressive Caucus, Commissioner for the California Film Commission, Commissioner for the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, and Member of the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Board.