Stories for Latina Equal Pay Day

Today is Latina Equal Pay Day which means that on this day Latinas will finally earn what white men made in the year 2016.  April 4, 2017 was a day many celebrated as Equal Pay Day in because it was the day that woman on average in caught up to what white men earned in 2016.  But obviously when the average is disaggregated into racial groups, the breakdown of what different women of color earn is a stark contrast to the average. Women of color generally have to wait even longer to catch up to what white men make, but for Latinas, we have to work TEN more months! Latinas working full time year-round are typically paid only 54 cents for every dollar paid to our white male counterparts.

We can do better!

As Latina women from immigrant families, we know firsthand the impact of how pay disparities affects our families  and community. These lost wages mean that we, and our families,  have less funding to invest, less to spend on goods and services to locally owned companies in our community, meaning that our local economy also suffers from our loss in pay.

Read these stories from Latinas across the state, sharing how pay disparities affects different aspects of their lives and families.

“I was raised in Salem, Oregon. My parents are both immigrants from Mexico who worked hard as farm and factory workers my whole life. My parents were able to help send me and my sister to college –  I was the first person in my family to receive a higher education. We thought the key to our success would be getting an education, but I was not ready for the additional barriers I would face as a woman, as a Latina, and a first generation American. I’ve held back from starting a family because I know what a financial burden it would be. I’d like to imagine a world where women don’t have to choose between starting a family and our financial security. Pay disparity is about more than simply discrimination, although that is certainly part of it.  Another factor is the role of caregiving and how undervalued this work is in our society. Most of us have to work to stay afloat and yet we also have significant family caregiving duties. When this falls disproportionately on women and our workplaces don’t have policies designed to support this reality, it’s no wonder we fall behind.” – Reyna Lopez, Portland

“Our family immigrated from Mexico and I grew up in Silverton, Oregon. My parents worked as farm, landscape, and domestic workers for most of my life and they worked hard to provide the American life we had dreamed of. However all that hard work and dedication was not always reflected in their pay. My mother always earned less than my father and would always have to work more hours to reach the same amount of earnings. She was exhausted and yet, she did as much as she could to support our needs. Now that I have my own kids I am careful in what I teach them about the value of work. We must call attention to this issue. I want future generations of Latinas to have more opportunities so they will have the same benefits as their counterparts and will experience a different reality, one where they thrive. ” – Elisa Andrade, Salem

“As a Latina woman from an immigrant family, I know firsthand the impact of how pay disparities affect my family and community. For me, these lost wages mean that my family and I have less funding to invest, less funding to spend on goods and services to locally owned companies in our community, meaning that our local economy suffers as well from my loss in pay. With a child currently in pre-k, I do not lose sight of the cost of such programs which can be as much as private school and are out of reach of many families who suffer from pay inequality. If the wage gap were eliminated, more Latina-headed households would have more income to lessen food insecurity, home insecurity, have more time with their families, and spend more in the community in addition to contributing to savings and investment plans. Latinas cannot continue to afford the discrimination of the pay disparity.” – Evangelina Sundgrenz

For more information on Latina Equal Pay Day, please visit https://nwlc.org/resources/equal-pay-for-latinas-2017/ and here https://iwpr.org/publications/womens-median-earnings-percent-mens-1985-2016-full-time-year-round-workers-projections-pay-equity-raceethnicity/

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