Latina Equal Pay Day marks the day that an average full-time Latina worker “catches up” to the wages made by white men and women the year before. Every year, awareness about Latina Equal Pay Day grows immensely, and the actual day that is observed changes depending on the pay rate for the demographics involved. But 2022 is by far the worst year on record.
This year, the day falls on December 8, which means that an average Latina full-time employee had to work nearly twenty-three months to earn the yearly salary of her white male counterpart.
But we can’t tell the full story behind this number without pulling apart the data. For example, we know that this statistic does not include Latinas working part-time or as gig workers, and that it’s missing data from many undocumented Latinas. We also know that the pay gap is often worse for Afro-Latinas, women who identify as Indigenous Latinas, and women who identify as multiracial—intersectional identities that are not explicitly included in most analyses on the Latina pay gap.
Because of all that missing data, I can confidently say that the pay gap is actually wider than it’s reported to be. Fortunately, there are several ways that corporate America can take action on this issue.
1. Audit Your Own Actions
As a C-suite executive, you can work with the appropriate teams to conduct a salary audit that analyzes compensation packages by gender and race. Ensure there are details regarding each employee’s salary history and how their full packages were negotiated. Keep in mind that some employees negotiate for benefits that may not be centered solely on financial compensation but that are still valuable to them. You should also be sure to be transparent about how your organization determines salary ranges so that auditors do not have to guess what factors are driving the compensation for each role in the company.
This salary audit process requires open and honest communication among hiring managers, HR, and the CEO, but it can help identify concerning pay gaps and determine whether any training is needed to reduce gender bias in the decision-making process.
2. Establish a Steering Committee
The gender pay gap has been a national issue for decades and is only getting worse. This problem therefore requires a long-term commitment from business leaders, ideally in the form of a steering committee whose purpose is to address the issue and make a practice of executing solutions.
The people on the steering committee should reflect a tapestry of individuals with diverse personal and professional experiences: this will allow the community to address nuanced, intersectional issues. This committee will also help attract and retain junior and middle management talent that reflects the diversity in our communities.
One key output from the steering committee could be teaching young leaders how to navigate salary negotiations and promotion discussions.
3. Be Loud and Proud
Be loud about allyship internally and broadcast your commitment to closing the pay gap for women in general and Latinas in particular. Encourage Latinas to negotiate and applaud them when they do.
Also, make sure the women in your organization have equal access to the people and opportunities that accelerate careers. And when you post about open roles, make sure to include the salary ranges—this is vital for healthy conversations about salary transparency.
4. Call Your Senator
Lastly, support national policies that promote pay equity. On April 15, 2021, the House of Representatives voted 217-210 to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act with bipartisan support. However, on June 8, 2021, it failed on a party-line procedural vote in the Senate. Reach out to your senator to support this bill and encourage your community to do the same.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to just take some form of action. The work starts internally, with business leaders making a long-term commitment and ensuring their company is part of the solution. And little by little, we’ll start to see results—badly needed results. Because in the long run, when women—and especially Latinas—live in a world where equal pay exists, the main beneficiaries will be the communities we all live in.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Hispanic Executive or Guerrero Media.
Born and raised in Chicago, Argelia Martinez is dedicated to creating positive spaces for Latine culture to thrive. By day, she is managing director at Hauswirth/Co, a strategic marketing firm. Argelia founded Vida Mia Cocktails to elevate Mexican American culture through beverage-pairing experiences that center the agave plant and the people that plant it. She co-led and grew the Latinista Chicago community for four years. She is the proud daughter of immigrants, Gregoria and Jaime Martinez, the oldest sister to Arlette and Perla, and dog mom to Canela.