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Latina Equal Pay Day: People of Color and Women Still Get Paid Less

October 25, 2021

Green 2.0 Team

Juliana hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park which straddles North Carolina and Tennessee. Photo Credit: Juliana Ojeda.

Latina Equal Pay Day: People of Color and Women Still Get Paid Less

By Juliana Ojeda

Juliana Ojeda is the Program Associate at Green 2.0 where she works to support administrative and programmatic operations of the organization. She is a graduate of the University of Florida earning a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a minor in Anthropology. Juliana loves being outdoors and has made it a goal of theirs to visit all 63 National Parks. She began with Green 2.0 as a 2021 fall fellow. In their first blog for Green 2.0, Juliana writes about Latina Equal Pay Day.

We all deserve to get paid what we’re worth, but the sad reality is that not everyone gets the compensation they deserve for their labor and talent. People of color and women still get paid less on average than white men. The salary gap is even wider for women of color. Latinas get paid 55 cents for every dollar white men get, meaning that Latinas must work twice as hard and long to meet the salary amount of their white male counterparts.

Through this disparity, it’s estimated that Latinas stand to lose over $1 million over a 40-year career due to the wage gap. This loss of wage affects our standard of living and what we can afford. It’s important that on Latina Equal Pay Day, we acknowledge the unacceptable gap that still exists, and demand that Latinas get the same pay and respect as their white male colleagues.

As I entered the workforce, being treated unfairly for being a woman of color was one of my biggest concerns. I knew that I would face many inequities and discrimination simply because of my identity. That is something that Latinas worry about constantly within their job fields, seeing others thrive and succeed around you, while you are left behind because of systemic barriers at work.  

In order to play the game, many women of color feel pressured to repress who we are so we stand out less in white-dominant workspaces so we can increase the chance that we are chosen for more for opportunities up the ladder. The truth is, many workplaces reward employees who fit their mold or their culture, and in many cases that means people of color are not even considered. It’s important that we take the time to assess how workplaces are still perpetuating and allowing these inequalities to continue so that we can create systems that target and solve the unequal pay of Latinas and other people of color.

Mentoring programs and career trainings are just some resources organizations can tap into to address these inequalities and close the wage gap for Latinas. However, workplaces need to take a real look at their pay scales and conduct equity audits to ensure that Latinas are being paid for their leadership and expertise.

Juliana visiting Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado. Photo Credit: Juliana Ojeda.

As a young Latina starting her career it’s critical to me that the places I decide to work not only value diversity, but approach pay equity as a central piece of this work. And I know that more and more young Latinas are ensuring that they find employers who pay us what we’re worth. Paid internships are the stepping stones to a well-paid career and I’m glad that more organizations are willing to pay their interns and fellows. However great changes remain and employers need to do more to dismantle these inequities. I’m grateful that I was able to work with organizations who valued my time and labor, and I think that really helped set me up to know that I am worth getting paid a good salary.

To learn more about Juliana and the entire Green 2.0 staff, click here.