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This year, Latina Equal Pay Day lands on October 21st. As a refresher, Latina Equal Pay Day is the day that Latinas in America finally make the same amount of money that their white male counterparts earned in the entirety of 2020. Because Latinas make $0.55 to every dollar a white man makes, they have to work 23 months to make what white men make in 12 months.
But Latina pay disparity is more nuanced the media usually discusses. There is an entire other prejudice that impacts an individual Latina’s earning potential: colorism.
According to a recent study by workplace equity nonprofit Coqual, Latino professionals with darker skin are 36% less likely than those with lighter skin to say their workplace evaluations accurately reflect their contributions to the company. While 53% of Latino professionals with medium skin and 72% with lighter skin say their workplace evaluations accurately reflect their contributions to the company, only 46% of darker-skinned Latinos say the same thing.
These statistics prove that it isn’t just anti-Latino discrimination that affects Latinas’ livelihoods, but the veneration* of whiteness that does so.
And that’s not all. In another Coqual study entitled “Latinos At Work“, the organization found that 43% of Latinas feel that they need to suppress parts of their authentic selves in order to conform to their company’s standards. And the “company standards” are usually very specific ones. 53% of Latinas say that their “company standards” usually align with “traditionally white male standards.”
For Latinas, the message is clear: if you want to succeed in the workplace, you must align yourself with whiteness as closely as possible.
Coqual says that the way to increase equity in the workplace is by focusing on transparency, accountability, and sustainability. There is no band-aid solution to creating an equitable workplace. Companies must work hard to embed fairness and justice into the company’s culture and practices.
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