Latina Equal Pay Day is Oct. 21 this year and that means it takes us an average of 23 months to earn what a white man makes in just 12 months. Latinas earn just $.57 to every dollar a white, non-Latino man makes. This is unacceptable and while there are ways we can start to change that, like advocating for ourselves, it’s also important to note the systemic barriers and support organizations and leaders working to combat them. Organizations like Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) have been fighting for economic and political parity for Latinas for decades. Activist Mónica Ramírez, founder of Justice for Migrant Women, has been a vocal advocate for equal pay for Latinas and uses her platform to raise awareness and encourage women to organize against these injustices. Read on to learn more about the Latinas and organizations working so that we won’t have to continue to need an equal pay day for Latinas.
National Immigration Law Center
the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), established in 1979, is one of the leading U.S. organizations dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income. Victoria Ballesteros is Chief Communications Officer for NILC and NILC Immigrant Justice Fund (IJF). She was born in Compton, Calif. and is the daughter of immigrants who came to the U.S. in the early 1960s. Many of her older siblings were born in Mexico and Ballestros spent much of her childhood helping her family navigate the immigrant experience in America, including translating for her parents. Throughout her career she’s witnessed the hurdles Latinas face and says that part of the problem with achieving equal pay is systemic. “Existing power structures allow for gender and racial discrimination to happen in the workplace and beyond,” she tells HipLatina. “The hard work of millions of Latinas across the country has been a significant factor in our country’s continued recovery from the pandemic. Latinas make up a large percentage of the essential workforce that has gotten us through COVID. So we have to own our power, recognize that we are vital to this country’s strength and recovery, and work together to ensure fair wages for us all.”
She shares some of the solutions we can start working toward include unionizing/organize to fight unfair labor practices. It’s also important to hold lawmakers accountable and supporting organizations, both local and national., fighting injustices. “It is unconscionable that we have to work almost two years to take home the same amount of money a white man takes home in one year. We deserve better. By working together to correct this injustice, we can strive for a time when we no longer have to observe this truly shameful day.”
NAF is an educational nonprofit that is providing Latinx students with paid internships and work-based learning opportunities that will help them become future ready and prepare them for their careers. With program tracks in finance, hospitality and tourism, and several STEM-related fields including high-demand industries like healthcare and IT, high school students can explore career paths that interest them. NAF academies serve 112,000 students across the country, 42 percent are Latinx.
“Today marks Latina Equal Pay Day and many of my family and friends deal with pay discrimination daily. My family comes from a hard-working background, and they are not compensated the same, as my white friends’ families working in similar jobs. I believe that all workers should be paid equally and that includes interns. Unpaid internships favor people with the resources and means to be able to afford such opportunities – I am not one of those people. Through my NAF Academy of Finance experience at Southwest Miami Senior High School, I have secured two paid internships – my most recent being with Miami Dade College. One day, I hope all individuals will get paid equally for the same amount in the workplace.” – Georgia Ordanéz said in a statement to HipLatina.
Mónica Ramírez, Founder of Justice for Migrant Women
Mónica Ramírez has long been a vocal advocate for migrant women, and she’s using her platform to educate Latinas on the importance of Latina Equal Pay Day. “This world is fortunate to have our skill, talent, smarts, ganas, experience, wisdom & more. It’s past time that employers start to fully & fairly compensate Latinas for our work. We #DemandMore. #LatinasCantWait #LatinaEqualPay” she tweeted this year. She also was part of the Seeding Change & Demanding More: National #LatinaEqualPay Day virtual summit which featured leaders and activists like Dolores Huerta and Wendy Chun-Hoon, Director of the Women’s Bureau at U.S. Department of Labor, and host, actress Melinna Bobabilla.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada), the U.S.’s first-ever Latina senator, is a co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA). It would help to close these punishing gaps by eliminating loopholes in the Equal Pay Act (1963) which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work. Key features of the PFA include that it would protect against retaliation for discussing salaries with colleagues; prohibit employers from screening job applicants based on their salary history/requiring salary history; require employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons; and create a negotiation skills training program for women and girls.
Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE)
HOPE is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working for political and economic parity for Latinas. For the past 30 years their programming has helped nearly 60,000 Latinas Among the programs they offer is the Leadership Institute, the first and only statewide leadership program specifically designed for professional Latinas in California. “To close the Latina pay gap we must address discrimination. Every part of society can play a role by acknowledging that it exists and rooting it out through policies that provide
transparency and accountability,” said Helen Torres, Chief Executive Officer of HOPE said in a press release. “The root cause for the wage gap is discrimination. The wage gap is compounded by
discriminatory practices that start with education when we’re not afforded the same
opportunities, in employer hiring practices that exclude Latinas, in outright pay discrimination,
and much more,” said Torres. “Latinas are resilient, but enough is enough.”
Claudia Romo Edelman, founder of We Are All Human Foundation and Hispanic Star
Claudia Romo Edelman, founder of the We Are All Human Foundation and its platform, Hispanic Star, dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The data-driven organizations have been raising awareness of some startling facts including how even when Latinas ask for a raise, they don’t get the same results as their white counterparts. They’ve also found that Latinas represent only 3 percent of senior level positions vs. 66 percent for white men and that paying women equally would have added $512.6 billion to the national income in a single year. “Latinas are the lowest paid segment in the U.S. and invest more time in unpaid work than anyone else. Despite the barriers, Latinas are a driving force for growth,” she wrote in a caption on Instagram.