5 Latinas on the Fight for Equitable Paychecks

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Read more

Latinas are paid 46% less than white men, and had to work all of 2019 plus 10 months of 2020 to catch up with what their white male peers earned in 2019–no matter their field or location. This wage gap creates a healthcare gap which impacts future generations through continuing a vicious cycle of poverty. Equal pay for Latinas would create a paradigm shift.

A 2019 Lean IN poll found that Latinas are asking for promotions and raises at higher rates than white men but for every 100 men who get promoted to manager, only 68 Latinas are promoted which pigeonhole Latinas into entry levels roles.

To help motivate you to work towards a more equitable paycheck, we gathered real stories from Latinas about their fight for equal pay.

Daniella Jorge

Daniella Jorge was working in an entry-level position in the footwear industry in New York City and earned $15,000 less than a white male peer in the same role. Jorge was promoted but never saw a drastic increase in her salary as she was told they were parallel moves. “I was told by a Latina supervisor that I should search for a new job,” she said. The 34-year-old negotiated a salary offer with a new company that she used as leverage to ask for her supervisor to match the offer.

Crystal Garcia

Crystal Garcia, 39, was working as a bookkeeper for a labor union when she was tasked with running payroll; she soon realized her white male counterpart was making $20,000 more per year. She was furious as they kept taking work away from him to give to her—but she wasn’t given additional pay. When a higher role opened up, she wasn’t even considered for the role. A white woman was hired from a temp agency and only lasted six months and she lacked knowledge in the industry. “I was offered the position with less than what this white woman was making,” Garcia says. She was insulted but took the position as she needed the money. Today she holds a position where her peers earn the same wages regardless of gender or ethnicity.

Paulette Piñero

Paulette Piñero is a leadership coach for Latinas. She worked in the education field for 15 years and was always one of the lowest-paid employees even in senior leadership positions. “I was bilingual so you would think I would get paid a higher salary,” the 33-year-old said. “I was told by my manager that she wouldn’t approve a promotion because she ‘needed me close’ because no one else could do the amount of work I was doing. It’s so common to hear: ‘I only like to hire Latinas because they are hard workers,’ but we’re always the lowest paid,” she said. Piñero believes you can’t say you’re committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion but then pay Latinas less.

Yanira Merino

Yanira Merino, the National President of The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, worked at a shrimp factory in California. “Discrimination, very low wages, and unsafe working conditions encouraged me and a group of coworkers to organize and fight to become part of a union which led to better working conditions,” the 55-year-old said.

Ruby De Santiago

Ruby De Santiago, has worked as a technical product manager for a Fortune 500 Company for over 3 years. One of her male counterparts was making $35,000 more a year in his base salary with less education, responsibility, and work experience. “I’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the wage gap,” the 32-year-old said. She’s a single mom who helps her siblings pay for school and also supports her grandmother in Mexico. The wage discrepancy is detrimental to her family’s quality of life. She’s missing out on monetary compensation that could benefit her son and cuts back on activities he’d like to participate in or skipping physical therapist appointments.