Today may seem like any normal day, but it’s not—because today, Latina women everywhere are reminded of one thing: the pay gap. November 1st is Latina Equal Pay Day, which is when the amount an average Latina is paid finally catches up to what the average white man made in 2017. It takes Latinas 10 extra months to break even with white men. Ten extra months. That’s not okay.
Although women make 80 cents to their male coworker’s dollar, when you further break it down by race and ethnicity, the problem gets worse. This is where Women’s Equal Pay Day comes in. There’s Asian-American Women’s Equal Pay Day in March, all women’s Equal Pay Day in April, African American Women’s Equal Pay Day in July, Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day in September, and finally, Latina Women’s Equal Pay Day in November—all of which demonstrate how many more months women have to work to catch up to their male colleagues.
That also means Latina women make the least amount of money compared to the average Joe; 54 cents for every white man’s dollar, in fact.
And this gap isn’t there just because of education, work experience, or even age.
So what can we do to continue to support other women, especially minorities or women in marginalized groups, to help shrink this gap?
We can support working women.
We need the executives, the directors, the CEOs, and everyone else in a position of power to step up to the plate. This can be as simple as altering the interview process to remove identifying information that could cause unconscious bias or asking everyone the same exact questions. Companies that work toward having no pay gap attract top female talent, and getting more women in the work force at high-up levels is how we can start to shift and diminish the pay gap.
We need to look out for each other, and speak up.
Not all of us are lucky enough to work at a company that actively takes steps to ensure their female employees are on equal footing with male employees. That’s when we come in. See what women need help; mentor someone, offer a helping hand, use your skills to help bring up other women. We’re all in this together. Even speaking out when you feel like something isn’t right can be a step toward changing the workroom culture.
We should hire more women while we’re at it.
Getting women in positions of power, changing the workroom dynamic, basing women’s worth off their skills (and not their gender expression or their race), are all ways we can help to break down the pay gap. This isn’t something that should just rest on the shoulders of minority women either. We need white women to help, too. And for all those people in positions of power in their companies—fix this. You have the ability to reassess the power and monetary dynamics of your company to allow equity for all. Step up to the plate, hire more women, and then change things. Maybe then we’ll finally start to see a difference.