Today is Latina Equal Pay Day. Employers must take responsibility in closing the wage gap

December 8, 2022, 1:03 PM UTC
A woman wearing a hard hat and safety goggles converses with a man wearing a hard hat.
Latinas earned just 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man in 2021.
Giles Barnard—Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Former Theranos president Sunny Balwani is sentenced to almost 13 years in prison, Brittney Griner was released from a Russian prison, and Thursday marks equal pay day for Latinas.

– Equal pay. Thursday, Dec. 8 is Latina Equal Pay Day. In 2021, Latinas working full-time and part-time jobs earned just 54 cents for every dollar the average white non-Hispanic man earned. Over the course of a 40-year career, Latinas will lose out on nearly $1.2 million in income compared to white men, meaning they would have to work until they were 90 years old (six years past their 84-year life expectancy, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to make up for lost wages, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

“When we look at Latinas in our country, it is clear that we are not working half as hard, it is clear that we are not half as good at our jobs, and we are not half as qualified,” Mónica Ramírez, co-founder of The Latinx House and chair of the annual Latina Equal Pay Day campaign, tells Fortune. “There is absolutely no justification that we’re being paid essentially half of what a white male worker is being paid.”

The burden the pandemic placed on women and workers in frontline occupations delivered an outsized blow to Latinas’ income that will continue to reverberate in the coming years. Already overrepresented in low-wage and frontline occupations, Latinas were hit disproportionately hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate for Latinas ages 20 and older peaked at 20.1% in April 2020, compared to a 13% peak for the overall job market that same quarter. While Latinas’ unemployment rate is now below pre-pandemic levels, nearly one in five unemployed Latinas has been out of work for six or more months. As Latinas return to the workforce, more may be pressured to accept part-time or underpaid jobs instead of waiting for a better opportunity; one in eight Latinas is working a part-time job involuntarily instead of a desired full-time role, according to the NWLC. Worse still, the ongoing childcare crisis and lack of social nets for Latina-led households, who already live below 200% of the federal poverty level for a family of three, could lead to long-term consequences.

“We didn’t do anything in the pandemic to fix any of these structural issues,” Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the NWLC, tells Fortune. While some pandemic-related support like stimulus checks offered temporary relief, failure to address health care inequity or pass measures like the Paycheck Fairness Act created more barriers to long-term action. “It was so clear in the pandemic what we needed to do, and we didn’t do it.”

But policy isn’t the only place where the wage gap is under-addressed. Employers and business leaders must bear the responsibility of eliminating bias when hiring and promoting Latinas and women of color and ensuring better representation in the C-suite. It cannot be a simple matter of requesting that women negotiate better; despite asking for raises and promotions at the same rates as men, only 75 Latinas will be promoted to managerial positions for every 100 men, according to Lean In and McKinsey’s 2022 Women in the Workplace report.

“It is not our fault that we didn’t somehow fail to do a good enough job by advocating for ourselves when employer bias is impacting the way that we’re being treated and evaluated,” says Ramírez. “To put it on a Latina, or any other woman worker, [and] suggest that we have to do something better to make sure that we’re being paid fairly is gaslighting. And that needs to stop.”

Employers must also create policies surrounding childcare and paid sick or medical leave that will allow these women to stay and thrive in the workplace. “[Employers] shouldn’t need to wait for a law to be passed for them to fix this,” Ramírez says. “My hope for the future is that Latinas will be able to work for people who value them as people, who understand the importance of their contributions, and will do what is needed to be able to keep them in the workforce.”

Paige McGlauflin

The Broadsheet is Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Subscribe here.


- Homecoming. WNBA player Brittney Griner, who was arrested and held on drug charges in Russia, was released after the U.S. traded a Russian arms dealer for her freedom. CBS News

- Doing time. Theranos ex-president and chief operating officer Sunny Balwani was sentenced to just under 13 years in prison on Wednesday, for his involvement in a fraud scheme at the blood-testing company founded by his former romantic partner, Elizabeth Holmes. Wall Street Journal

- Unequal treatment. One of the women who accused New York attorney general Letitia James’s chief of staff Ibrahim Khan of sexual harassment claims James’s office handled Khan’s investigation less aggressively than the investigation into harassment allegations against former Governor Andrew Cuomo. The woman, a former aide herself, alleges James withheld the allegations from the public, allowing Khan to resign last week with his reputation intact. In a statement, James thanked the women who came forward and wanted to assure them “they were heard and that I believe them.” New York Times

- Shared history. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is asking former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to testify before Congress. But Waters’s ties to FTX, as well as her connections to the Bahamas where FTX is headquartered, could make such a hearing uncomfortable for both parties. Fortune

- Fraud charges. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, former president and current vice president of Argentina, was found guilty of fraud for directing public roadworks contracts to a family friend while in office. Kircher was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from holding public office. Washington Post

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Merilee Buckley, chief accounting officer at Etsy, was appointed to Pateron’s board of directors. Genesys hired former Microsoft vice president of education Barbara Holzapfel as chief marketing officer. Corporate card and expense management startup Brex hired former Noom executive Angela Crossman as chief people officer. Commerce platform Lightspeed Commerce appointed former Klaviyo and Dropbox executive Kady Srinivasan as chief marketing officer. Terminus promoted Natalie Cunningham to chief marketing officer.


- Family pressure. Badri Hosseini Khamenei, a sister of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is calling for his ouster, a sign that those close to the leader are getting bolder with their opposition. Wall Street Journal

- Child tax credit. Advocates for the child tax credit are trying to revive the credit through an omnibus bill before the current congressional session ends in a few weeks. But getting enough Republicans on board will require a significant feat from Democrats, who narrowly failed to renew the credit at the end of last year. New Republic

- Assault trial. Jury selection for rapper Tory Lanez’s assault trial against Megan Thee Stallion began Tuesday. Lanez faces three felony charges including assault with a semiautomatic firearm and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. He has pleaded not guilty. Rolling Stone

- A touch more. Athletes Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe have launched A Touch More, a new production company aimed at amplifying narratives around identity, activism, and underrepresented communities including LGBTQ people, people of color, and women. Variety


FTX held talks with Taylor Swift over $100M sponsorship deal Financial Times

Nancy Pelosi: I’m proud to protect marriage as one of my last acts as speaker Washington Post

How Meghann Fahy became the breakout star of The White Lotus Harper’s Bazaar

The Queen Consort opens up about an important cause close to her heart Good Housekeeping


“To be an icon isn’t about how long you’ve had your platform…[it’s] about what you do with that platform.”

Lizzo, who brought 17 activists onstage while accepting the People’s Champion award at the People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday.

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