Latina Equal Pay day is observed on October 5th this year meaning it’ll take Latinas nearly two years to make what a white, non-Latino man made in 2022. In the United States, Latinas earn a mere 52 cents for every dollar a white man earns and we continue to find ourselves in the midst of an unyielding fight for economic justice.This stark disparity is a glaring reminder of the barriers we face in the workforce. Latinas overrepresent in low-wage industries including hospitality which tend to be more economically insecure and subject to poor working conditions with little bargaining power. This has left many Latinas in a chronic state of working poverty, according to The Department of Labor. This is just one factor among many that have left us trailing behind not only white, non-Latino men but also Asian women (80 cents), white women (73 cents), and Black women (64 cents) while Indigenous women are paid the least with 51 cents. But as Latinas, we carry within us the strength, resilience, and determination that have weathered generations. It’s time to channel that power towards achieving equal pay. Let this be a call to action to bridge the gap and stand in our poder.
Step 1: Knowledge is Power
The first step in any battle is understanding the terrain. Research is our beacon of light. Delve into salary reports, industry averages, and company pay scales. Understand your worth in the job market.
Actionable Tip: Utilize online resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics or platforms like Glassdoor, Payscale LinkedIn to gather salary data or go to TikTok/IG to find interviewing tips from other Latinas who share their expertise on their journey like @CarlatheFirstGenCoach, @CareerChristen @unapologeticallyt
Step 2: The Art of Negotiation
Negotiation isn’t just about discussing a salary. It’s about advocating for your worth. Latinas often hesitate to negotiate due to fear or cultural norms, but it’s time to shatter that glass ceiling. What would a white man do? Enter negotiations with confidence, backed by research. Advocate for growth in salary, bonuses, benefits and maternity leave. Put your loyalty aside and solely focus on the industry numbers compared to your salary.
Actionable Tip: Highlight your accomplishments, expertise, and contributions to the organization on top of your market research. If your salary is not at market value, ask for market value and if you are, the goal is to ask for 10 percent — 20 percent more. Then, practice your negotiation skills with a trusted friend or mentor and make sure to showcase what you’ve been bringing to the table.
Step 3: Illuminate the Shadows with Pay Transparency
Transparency in pay is not only a right, but it’s also a catalyst for change. Advocate for transparency in your workplace. Encourage open discussions about salary ranges and disparities. Shine a light on the issues that need addressing within your company.
Actionable Tip: If possible, connect with colleagues to share salary information. This can help identify disparities and if you find disparities, go back to step #1 and #2 and discuss your salary with your manager. If you are afraid to talk to your manager – connect with your mentor or sponsor to help you with the discussion. If they don’t respond positively to equal pay, loyalty is out the window. Start interviewing and networking for your next opportunity!
Step 4: Raise Your Voice, Advocate for Change
Our strength lies not just in our individual actions, but in our collective power. Be an advocate for change within your workplace. Engage with Employee Resource Groups, join committees focused on diversity and inclusion, and speak up against inequity. Policies that can be added are raising minimum wage, maternity leave, union friendly policies, pay transparency and scheduling or daycare assistance for working mothers.
Actionable Tip: If you don’t know where to go join professional virtual communities and see how other organizations are supporting these initiatives or draft a policy to draft to HR! Calladita no se ve mas bonita!
Step 5: Forge Alliances and Mentor the Next Generation
We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, and it’s our duty to lift others up. Forge alliances with fellow Latinas and allies within your business or the company you work for. If you have fought for your pay and learned a thing or two, mentor younger generations, guiding them towards financial confidence and empowerment.
Actionable Tip: Join or start a mentorship program within your organization. Offer guidance and support to those who are just beginning their careers.
Our Power, Our Pay
The battle for equal pay is not an easy one, but we, as Latinas, are not strangers to adversity. We possess the resilience, the tenacity, and the intelligence to break down these barriers. Loyalty is out of the question here, what enters your bank account is more important than being underpaid. Let us rise united, with knowledge as our weapon, negotiation as our shield, and advocacy as our voice.
Together, we will rewrite the narrative. Together, we will reclaim our rightful place in the workforce. Our power, our pay, and our future are in our hands.
On this October 5th, let us stand as unbreakable warriors for Latina equal pay. The fight is tough, but we are tougher. Let our legacy be one of empowerment, financial confidence, and unyielding equality.