By Sarah Vasquez
National Equal Pay Day for white women was April 19, but it requires much more time for Latinas to catch up to the money the average white man made the year before. That’s because on average, Latinas are paid 53 cents for every dollar made by a white male employee.
Latina Equal Pay Day marks how long it takes for Latinas to catch up, which requires almost two years of full-time, year-round work. This year it falls on November 20, but with last year’s Latina Equal Pay Day on November 2, that means that things have gotten worse instead of better for Latina workers.
“Latinas and our work are grossly undervalued. Across every education level, industry and sector, Latinas are not being paid the full value for our work,” said Mónica Ramírez, President of Justice for Migrant Women and Latina Equal Pay Day Organizer.
According to National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Latinas are commonly domestic workers, working as janitors, building cleaners, maids and housekeepers. Those working a full-time, year-round, low-wage job typically make $21,000 annually compared to a white male who would make $30,000 working a similar job. For the more higher waged jobs such as lawyers and physicians, NWLC states that Latinas are typically paid $63,000 annually compared to the $105,000 white men are paid with those same jobs, adding to an annual loss to Latinas of $42,000 each year.
Nearly one in eight women lived in poverty in 2018, according to NWLC, which include 18 percent of Latinas. Nearly one in four Latinx children lived in poverty as well, with nearly two in five poor Latinx children raised by an unmarried mother.
Compared to other female demographics, Latinas are paid the least. American Association of University Women (AAUW) shared that Black women make 62 cents on the dollar made by a white male while Asian women make 89 cents on the dollar.
Ramírez continues that this low pay is a direct correlation with how Latinas are treated in society, at work, and in the way that they are portrayed by the media and entertainment.
“If messaging is constantly geared toward the masses that we are underprepared, uneducated and unskilled, then that is the messaging that employers are also receiving about us, which, in part, results in discrimination against us,” said Ramírez. “We also cannot separate other types of violations against us from the pay gap that we experience. There is a direct connection to the widespread sexual harassment against Latina workers, especially those in low-paying jobs, with the wage gap that we suffer, not to mention other kinds of employment abuses and the lack of protection under basic employment laws.”
That is why Ramírez says it’s so critical that people across the U.S. join Justice for Migrant Women, Labor Council For Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Equal Pay Today and the over 120 organizations that have signed on to speak out against the lack of equal pay on Latina Equal Pay Day as well as promote the solutions that are required to close the pay gap through continued advocacy, educational summits and conferences.
Luz Collective is joining these organizations for the Latina Equal Pay Day National Summit on Wednesday, November 20, in Washington, DC. Luz Collective CEO Lucy Flores will speak with Jacqueline Priego, the co-creator of the web series Pinkslipped, about using pop culture as a tool for change.
Pinkslipped addresses equal pay in its show that shares the story of three Latinx friends dealing with issues in the workforce.
Some of the other summit topics include understanding how the pay gap is calculated and who is counted and how it impacts Latina workers. Beatriz Acevedo, founder of the Latinx digital media brand mitú, is the keynote speaker.
Everyone is invited to join a national social media storm at 2pm ET on Wednesday November 20 to demand equal pay for all Latinas, no matter where they work, and to raise awareness on the issue with the hashtags #LatinaEqualPay, #LatinxEqualPay, #DemandMore, #PaycheckFairness and #Trabajadoras on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
“Latina workers, our families and our economy are suffering,” said Ramírez. “Employers must take urgent action to remedy this problem.”
For more information on Latina Equal Pay Day, visit latinaequalpay.org.