In Honor of Latina Equal Pay Day, Did Your Last Paycheck Piss You Off?
We tweeted for Latina Equal Pay Day #LatinaEqualPayDay or #Trabajadoras
Today is a day of acknowledgment and action! November 2 marks Latina Equal Pay Day, which is a day designed to recognize the gap in earnings between Latinas and White men and how far we have come and still need to go. If you did not know, Latinas are the least paid race/ethnicity in the gender pay gap. Latinas in the United States are typically paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, compared to White women who are paid about 77 cents and African Americans women earning around 63 cents.
Women of color “suffer the effects of the gender wage gap plus those of the race wage gap. While wages for White and Asian women have improved since 2007, salaries for Hispanic women have flat lined, and even declined for African American women” states Washington Post writer Xaquín G.V.
Latinas and their families cannot afford discrimination and lower wages. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, “Forty percent of Latina mothers bring in 40 percent or more of their families’ income, which means their households rely heavily on their wages to make ends meet and get ahead. Nearly three million family households in the United States are headed by Latinas. And 38 percent of all Latina-headed family households live below the poverty level. This means that more than 1.1 million Latina-headed family households live in poverty.” Eliminating the wage gap would allocate much-needed income to Latinas whose earnings secure their homes.
Critics of equal pay legislation argue that women are the ones to blame for their low wages because they choose lowering paying jobs and are inherently worse at their jobs than men. It is not that simple.
“Three of the most significant contributors,” economist Olivia S. Mitchell says, “are the penalty women face for becoming mothers, women’s lack of negotiating skills and the bias women face from employers”. To explain, new moms are often perceived as distracted and uncommitted, which results in a lower chance of hiring and promotion. Also, we need to look in the mirror and hype ourselves up to negotiate a higher salary. If we do not recognize our worth, our employers sure will not either. Then, there are employers who, knowingly or unknowingly, undervalue the work of women and add to the pay disparity. Fortunately, equal pay supporters have proposed and passed bills to avoid gender discrimination in the workplace.
For instance, on October 12, California Governor Jerry Brown enacted the salary privacy bill. The bill forbids past compensation inquiries, meaning that employers cannot ask women about their former salaries. Latinas do not have to refer back to previous wages while negotiating and can instead ask for the amount that they believe they deserve.
Further, women are free to volunteer information while employers are required to provide a salary range for the applicants. Similar to California, cities such as San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh have passed ordinances restraining questions about recent earnings.
All in all, Latina Equal Pay Day calls for national action. As a result, go on Twitter today and everyday, demand equal pay for Latinas by tweeting #LatinaEqualPay and #Trabajadoras because we are worth more than 54 cents.