Latina Equal Pay Day: Local Latina business leaders work to make a difference
This year, Latinas will earn 52 cents for every $1 earned by white men. This disparity is the widest gender pay gap of any group, according to Equal Rights Advocates.
“Latinas are not being paid equitably; that has a ripple effect,” said Patricia Mota.
Mota is the president and CEO of HACE, a Chicago-based national nonprofit dedicated to the employment, development and advancement of current and aspiring Latino professionals.
“Our mission since 1982 has been to positively impact workplaces by cultivating the pipeline of Latino talent, providing them insight, access and support to be successful,” said Mota.
The organization has over 100,000 members across the nation and aims to uplift Latino workers and build a more just economy. She said a lot of the workplace issues she now helps solve are ones she also experienced.
“I’m a proud Latina, Mexican-American, daughter of immigrants, first generation college graduate professional,” said Mota.
Latina Equal Pay Day sheds light on the intense gap that lies in entrepreneurship that plagues businesses across the country.
“This is something that companies need to pay attention to,” said America Baez.
Baez is a local leader spearheading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategies nationwide. She continues to work to implement DEI strategies at major companies including Comcast, Pepsi and Verizon.
“It’s not just about making pledges; they have to act and they have to demonstrate their commitment,” said Baez.
Baez grew up in a family of teachers, politicians, artists and poets who inspired her to follow her biggest dreams. Those dreams inspired her to leave her home in Mexico to move to the United States.
These dreams of independence and inclusivity are also echoed at a local non-profit run by Tinamarie Hernandez.
“We work with people with disabilities, both cognitive and physical, and we use scuba diving as a therapy,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez is the executive director of Diveheart, a nonprofit in Downers Grove that works to bring adaptive solutions to people with disabilities while helping build confidence, self-esteem and independence along the way.
Hernadez said her organization is committed to local hispanic communities, creating dual language programs and outreach opportunities.
“We invite everyone who can come to come, and not let language be a barrier,” said Hernandez.