La tierra de Borinquén donde … las mujeres ganan más dinero que los hombres?
You read that correctly. Across the United States, men make more money than women in nearly every field. But in Puerto Rico, women, on average, have not just caught up to their male counterparts, but they slightly outearn them.
In 2016, Puerto Rican women working full time made a median salary of $24,486, while men earned $23,711. In other words, working Boricua mujeres are bringing in $1.03 for every dollar a fella takes home. This is a contrast to the U.S., where Latinas make 88 cents of a Latino man’s dollar.
According to Eileen Segarra Alméstica, an economics professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras, the gap is due to college education. About 20 percent of Puerto Rican men aged 25 and older hold at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 29 percent of women, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Alméstica told TIME that mujeres seek higher education more than men because, unlike them, women must get degrees to secure jobs with decent salaries. Men, however, can more easily succeed in physical jobs that don’t require college degrees but still pay relatively well.
But when men and women share similar education backgrounds, the familiar gender wage gap begins to appear. For workers with only a high school diploma, men outearn women by 13 percent. That figure continues to increase with more education, with men that carry bachelor’s degrees taking home 22 percent more than women with matching degrees and 30 percent more for advanced degree holders.
“Puerto Rican women face a glass ceiling, while men ride a glass escalator,” Alméstica says.
She fears the gender pay gap will increase, hurting women, as Puerto Rico’s debt crisis and post-Hurricane Maria humanitarian crisis lead to more school closures, higher education cuts, tuition increases and the loss of women teachers, who are taking jobs throughout Florida, Texas and New York.