Latinas Equal Pay Day

Latinas Equal Pay Day is not a day of celebration but a day of action. Blog contributor Corine Sandifer covers thoroughly the facts on this important issue and the actions to be taken to close this 47% pay gap that hurts Latino families, and follow Latinas into retirement. Also, it hurts the general market as Latinas make 82% of household decisions -hence diminishing their opportunity for financial planning, sending their children to college and making other important purchases like homes purchases and health coverage. The gap also follows them into retirement. 

November 1 is a recognized day for women like me. It’s Latina Equal Pay Day. A day to bring awareness to this inequality in the U.S. As the host of Rising Stories Podcast and Regional Leader for Lean In Tennessee, I want to share some data today from Lean on the pay gap for Latina women and the implications it has had on our futures and our families. Please read the data, let it sink in and then read the call to action.

November 1 is Latina Equal Pay Day

Latinas have to work all of 2017 and until this DAY in 2018 to catch up with what white men earned in 2017 alone. Even when you take factors like education, experience, location, and occupation into account, a large part of the pay gap remains. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Latinas are paid less than white men in the same jobs. Latinas are paid $0.53 for every $1 that white men earn, leading to a pay gap for Latinas of 47%. To understand why the pay gap is a crucial issue for Latinas and families, it helps to understand how the pay gap is calculated. The pay gap is calculated by gathering the median annual earnings for full-time year-round workers and breaking it down by race-ethnicity for the given year. Then, the median annual earnings for Latinas are taken as a percentage of white male earnings.

47% counts for everyone

When Latina women are paid less it impacts their ability to buy groceries, pay for childcare, afford rent and tuition… all the costs that go into supporting a family. 47% counts for each and every Latina facing this pay gap but also for their families and dependents. Lower earnings for Latinas means less money for their families, especially since many Latinos are the main breadwinners for their household. 85% of Americans think it would be a major problem or crisis if they earned 40% less money. Yet compared to white men, Latinas face a larger pay gap every day. This amounts to over one million dollars lost over the course of a typical career. This also translates to nearly 4 years of groceries!


Latinas Equal Pay Day
Corine Sandifer Regional Leader Lean In Nashville/Tennessee, Rising Stories Podcast Host, Senior Coach

People are overly optimistic about the state of Latinas 

Over four in ten white men think obstacles to advancement for Latinas are gone, but just 32% of Latinas agree. Moreover, nearly 62% of people who are not Latino think that racism, sexism, or both are uncommon in their company. Yet 51% of Latinas say they’ve experienced discrimination at work taken from a Survey by SurveyMonkey conducted on March 22-27, 2018.

This reality is what Latina’s in the U.S. face every day, and it’s holding us back from reaching our highest ambitions and our toughest goals.

Is it because Latinas choose worse paying jobs? 

Many people think the gap exists because Latinas choose worse paying jobs. A third of Americans believe the gap occurs because Latinas work in occupations that don’t pay as much – and four in 10 white men think so. Only 20% of Latinos agree with that assessment yet when Latinas are in the same careers as white man they are paid significantly less. It is important to note that Latinas are overrepresented in low-wage jobs, and underrepresented in high-wage. What is frustrating for me is that they are still paid less than white men in the exact same jobs, even when they have high-wage jobs.

The Unfortunate Double Discrimination

Latinas face unique challenges in the workplace. They are subject to biases for being women and biases for being people of color. This kind of double discrimination can intensify common biases faced by Latinas, but it can also play out in distinct forms of bias not faced by women more broadly.

Latina Equal Pay Day
Corine Sandfers and her Latinas Lean group

Turn Awareness into Action

These stats are pretty upsetting. We cannot sit back and let this go unnoticed. Obviously, we still have a long way to go to close this wage gap for Latina women. There are ways for all of us (not just Latinas) to fight this wage gap. Here are just a few call to action provocations.

  • Many Equal Rights Advocates are taking the lead on implementation and enforcement efforts related to the Fair Pay Act. Find out who they are in your city.
  • Vote at this year’s election on November 6.
  • Tell your representatives in Congress to vote for legislation that will close the Latina Wage Gap.
  • Read and Share the & McKinsey annual study on Women in the Workplace
  • Support your Latina co-workers & friends (If you don’t have one, connect with me on LinkedIn or Instagram)

You can also turn awareness into action by joining a Lean In circle and taking strides toward a more equal world. Lean In Circles are small peer groups that meet regularly to share ideas, gain skills, seek advice, and show solidarity. They’re a place where women can be unapologetically ambitious. Being in a circle has allowed me to ask for what I want and to aim higher. I am supported by a whole world of powerful women.

You can join our circle here or by visiting Lean In org circles to find a circle and network near you.

This article was also published on LinkedIn On October 31. 2018


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