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Editorial: Latina Equal Pay Day is a little too late

By Sabrina Bodon, Point Park News Service:

November 2 is the 306th day of the year.

It is also Latina Equal Pay Day, the culmination of how many days into 2017 Latinas must work to earn what a white man earned in 2016.

Earning 54 cents for every dollar, it’s no wonder it took an additional 306 days.

When the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, the average woman working full time earned 59 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. Fifty-four years later, Latinas are still making a whole nickel less than when the federal government deemed unequal wages an issue.

On average, American women earn 79 cents for every dollar their male coworker earns, and while we’ve made so much progress toward equal pay for all when you break the pay gap down by race and ethnicity, there’s a common thread: we’re leaving non-white, non-Asian women behind.

Asian-American Equal Pay Day is in March and all women’s Equal Pay Day is in April. But African American women won’t receive equal pay until July and Native American women won’t until September. Two months later is, finally, Latina Equal Pay Day.

On average, a Latina in the U.S. earns $31,109 a year, while white, non-Hispanic men on average earn $57,204 — that’s $26,095 more per year. Hispanic women are not projected to achieve equal pay until 2248, another 231 years from now, well past my lifetime.

As disheartening as it is to say, the wage gap is only the tip of the iceberg. As a society, we hold biases that negatively contribute to these statistics. We believe Latinas make less because they’re uneducated, because they’re home caring for children, because they’re housekeepers, because they don’t speak English. The list goes on.

Personally, I’ve held internships and jobs on campus where my white counterparts have been thanked for my work, where I’ve been passed over, where it felt like I’ve had to work so much harder to even be acknowledged. And I wonder to myself: Is it because I’m not white? Is it because I’m female? Is it because I’m both?

The key to achieving equal pay across the board is realizing it’s more than gender at play. It’s gender, race and ethnicity. There is no reason for Latinas to be required to work 10 full months in 2017 to earn the wages of a white man in 2016. We are worth the whole dollar.


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