Back in April, we celebrated Equal Pay Day, the day of the year in which women finally caught up to what the average man made the year prior. This past July, we did the same for Black women. Last month, we celebrated that day for Native American women. And today — a full eleven months into this year — marks the day that Latinas have finally caught up, as well.
Latinas have to work, on average, an additional 301 days in order to make what white men did the year before. Let that sink in.
This year, Latinas in the United States are still paid, on average, just 53 cents for every dollar paid to a white, non-Latinx man. These lost wages — roughly $26,403 per year — add up over time, and significantly affect Latinas ability to support themselves and their families, save for the future, and create lives that allow them to thrive.
But pay discrepancies are just the tip of the iceberg. There is still a considerable lack of Latina representation in many industries, such as tech where Latinas make up only 2% of science and engineering positions and represent only 1% of the computing workforce. The discrimination against Latinx professionals manifest in many different ways — from microaggressions to hiring bias.
Ultimately, change is on the horizon — statistically speaking. According to 2017 Nielsen reports, Latinas are becoming "an economic and social powerhouse in the United States," with skyrocketing rates of entrepreneurship. In fact, at the time of the report, Latina-majority owned businesses totaled nearly 1.5 million, representing 87% growth in the past five years, and outpaced growth by both Latino-owned and overall women majority-owned ventures.
The issue of Latinx professionalism is a fraught one. To shed some light on this complex climate, we spoke with ten Latina professionals from a variety of different careers, industries, and professional trajectories who reflected on what they wish they had known early on in their careers, the lessons they have come to learn, and what is still missing for them — and future generations of Latinx professionals — to truly thrive.