written by
Michele Heyward


Career Work Job Business DiversityandInclusion career advancement Anti-racism #EqualPay 4 min read
“Stop saying the future is Latina. The present already is, and we do not know how to honor that!”

October 29, 2020 is the day when a Latina’s pay will catch up to that of white, non-Hispanic men as compared to the last year. 50 years after the 1963 Equal Pay Act, a Latina typically earns only 55 cents to every dollar a white, non-Hispanic male earns in the US.

“It takes a Latina, with an equal degree and experience, nearly 23 months to earn what a white male earns in 12 months.”

This isn’t breaking news. Every year, around the same time, we mark #LatinaEqualPayDay and talk a lot about how they deserve an equal wage, same status, and position, etc. But, once the day is over, what steps are taken to ensure that every point put forth by Latinas to get the equality they deserve are taken into consideration? Though we only talk about the wage gap here, we all know it just isn’t about the money. The discrepancy of how we treat Latinas in a workplace, and as a member of this society, is way deeper.


Latina women are the most underpaid group in the United States. Even among the women of color, they are paid, hired, and promoted the least.

“Nearly 1 in 3 Americans is unaware of the pay gap between Latinas and white men. Similarly, almost half the Americans are unaware of the pay gap between Latinas and white women.”

The problem doesn’t begin with them not being paid an equal amount. The problem begins with people not realizing that there is a PROBLEM. These women, apart from facing racism and ethnic discrimination, have to fight the battle of ignorance every day. How can we even begin to talk about pay equity unless we consider the pay gap that exists upfront since it is the harshest one for Latinas?

They are being paid way less than white men, white women, and other groups for doing the same job. It isn’t that they aren’t doing their job right or aren’t asking for a pay raise, but the results they get are extremely horrifying. To sum it up, it is bias atop bias. The bias of being a Latina and bias of being a woman among others.


What hurts Latinas the most, from hiring to a promotion, isn’t their lack of experience or a degree (as the ignorant public assumes), it is the abundance of misconceptions and stereotypes. It is just an ideological fallacy on our part if we think that Latinas are experiencing this pay gap because they are less prepared for the workforce challenges, do not have the required experience, or aren’t as educated as the need be. The real deal is that no matter what the job or the educational experience required, they are still not being compensated fairly.

Often, it is assumed that they must not have the right degree, or they might not be qualified enough for the job. Not just this, but their hypersexualized fertility is considered as a threat as well. Even before they are hired, it is considered a danger. If they have children, their pay and the worth in the organization are almost diminished. From their identity to education and experience, everything is stereotyped to a point that people have forgotten how to differentiate it from reality.

“From age 16, Latina girls are paid less than boys the same age—and the gap only grows from there. This is enough to prove this point.”


Latinas are not only working but are building businesses and creating jobs as well. Most of them, after being disappointed due to the discrimination they face, start their businesses. Latino owned businesses may be the US economy’s best. Unfortunately, even after these valid stats to prove the point, the companies never invest in their Latina employees. Latina-owned businesses represent nearly half of Latino firms, yet they do not get the support and the investment required. Not when they are working and not when they look for funds to start or scale a business.

Regardless of the personal or professional development and mentorship from the seniors, Latinas continue to work and face discrimination & challenges. Despite all the hurdles they face every day, their work ethic is never not up to the mark. Now, what explanation do we have for not giving them equal status and the pay they deserve?

“The pay equity isn’t just a Latina problem. It is the national problem for every citizen in America. When we don’t pay Latinas what they deserve, we also neglect the purchasing power of more than $1.7 trillion being spent by Latinas every year. Not only to reach their full potential but for the US to reach its maximum potential, Latinas must be given equal pay and the position they deserve.”
WoCinSTEM DEI Women of Color in STEM Diversity and Inclusion