Equal Pay Day isn’t equal and The Pay Gap for Latinas Is Growing

November 20, 2019
Equal Pay Day

Today is Latina Equal pay Day, the day that Latina employees officially earn the same money for equivalent jobs as non-Hispanic white people. Put another way: Latinas usually earn just 54.5 cents for every dollar received by white, non-Hispanic men, and so they have to work a minimum of 23 months to earn what white men earn in a year.

It is the last “equal pay day” of the year, ensuring they work practically longer than anyone else. It takes thanksgiving on a whole new spin.

My sisters in MPW and the Broadsheet have published a significant piece of opinion from Mónica Ramírez, organizer of the National Latina Equal Pay Day of Action, pointing out how the wage gap has actually worsened: the equal payday this year came 18 days later than last year.

“Every day that a Latina is not compensated equally is one day too many, and just one cent’s loss effect has real consequences for Latinas and our families. It means missing nearly an extra month of rent, grocery stores, and bills. For the Latinx culture, it means dwarfed purchasing power, less money to save to send our kids to college, and less money to put aside for an emergency. It means $1.1 million denied over a 40-year career”.

And recent research from LeanIn. Org, SurveyMonkey, and VereinigtenUs, a non-profit science, policy, and advocacy organization the Hispanic community, shows that we all need to do better.

In polling 5,690 people, for one thing, they found that not enough people know a significant pay gap still exists:

31 percent …

of Americans do not understand that Latinas are paid less on average than white men for equivalent jobs.

47 percent …

of Americans, do not understand that Latinas are paid less than white women on average.

54.5 cents …

is what the Latinas allow a white man to do equivalent work for every dollar.

59 percent …

of men, even though they know it exists, underestimate the magnitude of the pay gap.

That said, half of all Americans believe that the explanation for the unequal pay is ‘prejudice’:

52 percent …

of people attribute the difference to some sort of discrimination to Latinas when they think about the difference and ask why. 34 percent attribute it to racism, 35 percent attribute it to sexism, and 31 percent believe that a big factor is descrimination toward immigrants.

Finds that “lack of Latinas in leadership” is viewed as a serious issue:

40 percent …

of Latinas, the key explanation for the difference is that fewer Latinas are in leadership positions, while 30% of all Americans agree.

Yet overall more Americans take a stand at the polls:

32% …

of those surveyed state they voted for a political leader who takes a stance on fair pay.

It’s time to turn up the pace, says raceAhead by email to Zandra Zuno Baermann, Senior Vice President for Communications and Marketing at UnidosUS.

“Many employees now know that in the United States there is a wage gap associated with gender and race. Ideally, the law would change to ensure that salaries are fair and nondiscriminatory,” she says. “In the meantime, managers should listen to Latinas and other women, and support policies that reward hard work, expand economic security, and help bolster the national economy.”

Moreover, allies and administrators have to help their Latina workmates every day to make the case for their worth, she says. “Encourage people to attend seminars that will help women learn more about the gender gap, how to express their personal worth and execute effective wage negotiations.”


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