In Her Own Words, Diane Guerrero Writes Why She Is So Passionate About Closing The Wage Gap

You don’t have to be a woman to relate to this issue. You see it at work every day, and you face it at home. Women get paid less than men. If you are a woman, you experience the discrimination first-hand, and if you are a man, you see your mother, wife, daughter, other family members, and close friends work just as hard as their male counterparts and get paid less. The discrimination is even worse for Latinas.

On average, women earn 80 percent of what men earn. But Latinas are paid much less, just 54 cents for every dollar paid to men — or about half. That means that the average Latina has to work an extra 10 months and two days to match what the average white man earns in a year. So, Latinas have to work from Jan. 1, 2016 through Nov. 2, 2017, to earn the same that a white male earned in 2016 alone.

Do not even get me started on the pay gap between men and women in Hollywood. But, consider this: The Forbes’ “World’s Highest-Paid Actors” list for 2017 begins with Mark Wahlberg, who cashed in $68 million, followed by 13 more actors before nearing the pay range of the highest-paid actress, Emma Stone, who won an Oscar for “La La Land,” and earned only $26 million.

The wage gap, regardless of industry, is shockingly unfair and demeaning to women, especially Latinas. That is why I’m joining the millions of working women across America on November 2, Latina Equal Pay Day, to demand equal pay. Now.

I could give you even more reasons and statistics about why the pay gap persists and why it’s difficult for Latina women to overcome. Instead, I suggest we start thinking of all women as equal partners and co-workers.

The diminishment of women, and even more so, of Latinas, has been emboldened by a president who repeatedly tries to wipe away the rights of women, communities of color, and immigrants. When President Trump talks about immigrants as criminals who are taking “our” jobs and draining the federal budget, he is being careless with the lives of millions of Americans.

The president is damaging the conversation, hindering societal and economic progress, and failing to fairly portray the contributions of Latinas.

I’m not talking about a special interest group here. According to the 2015 White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics study, one in five women in the United States is a Latina. Nearly half of Latina mothers are breadwinners for their families.

Documented or undocumented, the stark reality is that skin tone and gender determine a person’s pay and value.

America is supposed to be a land of opportunity, a country proud of (and built by) immigrants, a place of equality for all. It’s clear that we’re not living up to our own standards.

I’m proud to be working with The Representation Project and the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign to raise awareness about the pay gap. We all need to raise our voices and demand the powers that be stand up and #RepresentHer.

Let’s work together to end the pay gap and ensure that women’s work is valued and compensated fairly.


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