If we just work harder and 11 months and eight days longer, we, too, can make what others were paid in 2021.
Last week was Latina Equal Pay Day. December 8 marked how far into 2022 (11 months and eight days) Latinas had to work to make what men made in 2021.
Fifty-four cents to the dollar. In 2020, Latina Equal Pay Day was on the calendar for October 29. In 2021, that day was October 21. We fell behind approximately six weeks.
According to a press release by the National Women's Law Center, Latinas who work "full time, year-round lose $2,477 every month or $29,724 every year to the wage gap…adding to a staggering loss of $1,188,960 over a 40-year career."
The data is pretty damning, but what about the stories that contribute to this data. Lives could have been wholly different with the additional $29,724 annually!
How do we get to this point? Easy, salary decisions were made by people with titles in offices across the country. It's long bothered me at the number of times I experienced moments of inequity:
A white female boss who repeatedly reminded me I lacked a degree each year during annual reviews. Never mind the career pivot, the new and advanced skillsets, the clutch saves, the minimum of two bonuses a year, the numerous instances of positive feedback emailed, and the high integrity of my work. (Before you ask, yes, I did get that degree)
There was the HR liaison who ignored my repeated requests for a job description review against the actual work I was doing. It would have been a financial game-changer.
The women of color with titles who decided the way to implement progress was to reduce and move very professional employees (me included) of color and age to service positions.
And finally, the white male champion who took me under his wing only to drop me when his career progression (and mine) became the object of office politics.
There was so much I could have done differently. However, none of that negates the culture of defending against basic earning power.
This topic has been on my mind so long. The bad was bad but the good was also good. When I finally took my skills elsewhere, I increased my salary by 30 percent. 30 percent! Read that again.
So, Latinas and women of color, how did you experience financial inequity? What do your moments look like?
A note to the personalities above: the experiences learned will continuously have a place in conversations of Equal Pay Day for women of color every year.