Latina Equal Pay Day 2021: Experts share why there are still salary disparities

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HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Thursday, Latina Equal Pay Day, economic experts shared the strides made to close the pay gap between men and women of color. However, there are still greater salary disparities.

“I’ve had to compete with men, being pregnant, working and doing overtime. I was still getting paid less than a male counterpart,” said Elizabeth Rodriguez Marquez, the Community Organizer at La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE).

Marquez said she has dealt with the pay gap her whole career and said she sees it greatly affecting Latina and migrant women. 

“For example, if they’re working in domestic situations where they are cleaning houses or taking care of children, many times they are underpaid. They’re exploited, their statuses are used against them,” said Marquez.

The pay gap for Latina women in 2020 was 57 cents for every $1 a white male makes, and economic experts share the multiple factors that come into play. 

“The type of industry they tend to participate in can sometimes be low paying, but even if you look at a particular industry you’ll find that the pay gap still persists,” said Dr. Maroula Khraiche, Assistant Professor from the Department of Economics and Finance at UTRGV.

For Latina women who do strive for the male dominant jobs, Khraiche said it also comes down to the opportunities being offered. 

“Even in situations where we find that women are less likely to negotiate a higher salary, but even in situations where we find women are negotiating those higher salaries they’re not getting the promotion at the same rate as men are getting the promotion,” said Dr. Khraiche.

Marquez said when she’s applied for jobs, many times she was robbed of those opportunities because she is a Latina woman.

“Being a female I’ve been denied jobs for being a single mother because jobs are demanding and they need you to be available 24/7 and they just assume that you can’t,” said Marquez.

While strides are being made in the pay gap, both Marquez and Khraiche are encouraging women of color to continue reaching for those higher-paying jobs, and are urging companies to look into their pay discrepancies and hire more diverse women. 

LUPE is a non-profit organization that helps Latina women if they are being underpaid. For more information on resources and how to fight salary disparities, call (956) 787-2233 or visit their website.

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