by Kety Esquivel, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Nearly 12 months.
That is how many extra days a Latina has to work just to earn what the average white man earns in a year. In the U.S., Latinas earn 54 cents on the dollar as compared to white, non-Hispanic men. The average woman in the U.S. makes 80 cents on the dollar compared to a white, non-Hispanic man and she must work several extra months to earn what the average man earned the previous year.
This year, April 2 marked Equal Pay Day in the U.S. This was the date to which the average woman in the U.S. had to work to reach the same pay as her white, male counterpart. It’s ridiculous enough on its own that women don’t get equal pay for equal work. Unfortunately, this date does not reflect the specific circumstances of women of color. When broken down by race, Equal Pay Day did not arrive for Black women until August 22, for Native American women until September 23, and for Latinx women, nearly two months after that in mid-November.
More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, Latinas have to work nearly 23 months – longer than any other population – to catch up to white, non-Hispanic males. This wage gap is even wider for Latinas with a college education. So why aren’t more people trying to right this wrong? A recent survey shows that 42% of Americans (including hiring managers) aren’t even aware that the average Latina earns only 54 cents on the dollar. What’s worse is that some studies show that this amount has fallen to 53 cents in the last year.
Over a career span covering more than four decades, that adds up. According to a piece in Forbes, a Latina may lose up to $1 million over her lifetime. This is money that could be used in countless vital ways, including for university, community college, job training, mortgage payments, utilities, child care, health care, groceries, etc.
It is difficult to comprehend that as a human being by virtue of being born a woman and a daughter of Latin American descent (my father is from Mexico and my mother is from Guatemala), I am in a distinct group of women that on average receive only 54 cents on the dollar of what a white, non-Hispanic man is paid in the U.S. This reality leads to the inevitable questions:
Are we not equal?
Are we not capable?
I was once told that a company needed to get a white man to do my job, not because of any particular qualifications but because he was a white male.
This injustice is why five months ago I chose to join the AnitaB.org Executive team as their Vice President of Marketing and Communications. I believe it is my responsibility as a woman of color, daughter of immigrants, and proud Latina to be a part of the solution. Knowing that less than 1% of Silicon Valley tech leadership positions are held by Latinx women, it was important for me to be on the Executive Team for this extraordinary organization, especially as I would be the only Latina at the executive level. As the only Latina executive, I could focus on work for all women, and, also given my own history as the daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant mother, I could be sure that when we speak about intersectionality, we honor her and others like her as well. I hope that one day my children will do the same.
All employees should be paid fairly. There is no reason that Latinas have to work nearly 12 additional months to make the same amount of money as our white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
We must not forget that Latina’s Equal Pay Day comes after that for white women, Black women, and Native women.
The pay gap issue is compounded by the disparate representation of Latinas in tech. While Latina representation across various sectors is low, this is especially true in the world of technology. According to NCWIT, Hispanic women occupied only 2% of jobs in the computing workforce in 2018.
At present, Latinas are the second largest ethnic group in the United States, after non-Hispanic whites. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2014), the Latinx community will represent 108% U.S. female population growth between 2015 and 2060. This is in stark contrast to the -9% of growth for white females. Hispanics are projected to represent approximately 28 percent of the total U.S. population by 2060. As Hispanics will be nearly a third of the population in the U.S. by 2060, it is critical for tech companies to work towards a future where the people who imagine and build tech mirror the people and societies for whom they build it. Hispanics spent more than 1.3 trillion dollars in 2015. Our buying power is expected to increase to 1.7 trillion by 2020. This is a data point that should not be taken lightly by companies looking to attract Hispanic consumers.
Moreover, while the focus for Equal Pay Day is a U.S. conversation, pay parity for women is a critical topic of conversation for Latinas around the globe.
To reach our goal of 50/50 tech equity by 2025, we at AnitaB.org work hard to raise awareness of gender and pay inequity in the tech industry. As we have done for Women’s Equal Pay Day, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, and Native Women’s Equal Pay Day, we are calling on everyone to join us and stand against pay discrimination.
Help us and other supporters highlight Latina Women’s Equal Pay Day at 2 p.m. ET today on Twitter. Use the hashtag #LatinaEqualPay as well as #Trabajadoras and #DemandMore.
We look forward to hearing from you on social media, and hope you will continue to support women in tech. Not until the individuals in the most disparate position are lifted will we be able to achieve 50/50 by 2025.