October 29 is Latina Equal Pay Day, a date dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap in the United States. According to the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the leading national organization for Latino(a) workers and their families, Latinas are among the most adversely affected by the gender pay gap. Statistics show they are paid just 54 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. This means that a Latina would have to work nearly 11 months longer to be paid the same wages as her white male counterpart.
The Economic Policy Institute reported that Hispanic women are subject to a double pay gap — the first one is ethnic pay, which means they are getting less money just because they are Latinas. The other gap is the gender pay gap; they earn less because they are females.
Although there is a long way to go, if every Latina starts putting a dollar amount on the skills and knowledge she possesses, it would be much easier to bridge the gap. Despite, building a business or asking for a raise can be intimidating, Jessica Valentina, known as the Latina Business Coach and the founder of the Latina Business Academy, was able to go from “failed entrepreneur” to making five figures a month in less than a year, while also being a mom of two toddlers.
The podcast host and founder of the women’s group: Femmina, is committed to empower women and shared with HOLA! USA, how Latina entrepreneurs create their American dream by monetizing their skills and knowledge.
HOLA! USA: Why is it so important to bridge the Latina pay gap?
Jessica Valentina: “The Latina pay gap affects women at every education level and pay grade, from the woman who cleans for a living to the small business owner to the CEO of a big company. We could be more advanced financially, in our careers, in our businesses, and in creating generational wealth if we were getting paid equally.”
What are the consequences of this remuneration difference?
“The consequence of the remuneration difference is contributing to the existing systemic problem. For example, if we take a Latina single mom working, her income is always checked to qualify for houses in certain neighborhoods, cars, business loans, etc. This leads to her children having to go to lower funded schools, and then it snowballs from there. Latinas are being denied opportunities because of how much money appears on a W2, no matter how hardworking, reliable, or intelligent they are.”
How can we fight the Latina pay gap?
“Latinas often go into entrepreneurship because they want to charge their worth, but they end up undercharging and discounting their services. Why? Because not only have they not done enough market research to see what other Non-Hispanic businesses are charging, but also what they don’t know the worth and how to calculate what the value they bring to the table and what their time is worth, and THAT is the real problem. This affects all of us. Clients who support Latina owned businesses ask for discounts. This isn’t OfferUp. It comes back to worth and value in ourselves and for others. This affects all of us. If we all level up together, decide to charge our worth together, show up more united and confident together, that’s how we will bridge the gap. Juntas.”
How and why Latina Business Coach was born?
“I spent the first six years of entrepreneurship starting new businesses, quitting, and starting over again. After having my children back to back, I decided to give myself ONE more chance at success. I began to look for a ‘Latina business coach’ who could teach me how to start a business I could start and run from home with two toddlers. When I didn’t find who I was looking for, I took it upon myself to become her and create the program I needed desperately. After going from ‘failed entrepreneur’ to 5 figure months in less than a year with two signature courses that helped SO many women start, build, and launch businesses. I knew I was on the right track! COVID led me to found the Latina Business Academy as now more people than ever are learning online. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, it makes me crazy when I think about how Latinas are the most underpaid women, knowing how hardworking and passionate we are! I personally believe that the only way to bridge the #latinapaygap truly is to start our businesses and charge what we are worth with absolutely NO discounts. Now I am on a mission to give women the strategies they need to build online empires to share their gifts with the world and monetize them!”
How “failed entrepreneurs” can recover their businesses and careers?
“If you consider yourself a “failed” entrepreneur, but you still have many ideas and big dreams, I always recommend giving yourself ONE more try. The only way to truly fail is to quit. Go back to the drawing board. With everything you have done, what is the common thread? What do people ask you about, no matter what job you’re at? Who do you want to help? Find a way to monetize that, work with a mentor or coach for a shortcut (you can’t afford to lose more time), and go all in!”
Why do you think Latinas struggle to confidently charge for their services and tend to undervalue their skillset?
“In my opinion, many Latinas struggle with a scarcity of money mindset and a lack of confidence in charging. This stems from grandparents/parents coming to a new country and being humbled by the culture shock, loss of identity, not being able to speak the language and ultimately making ourselves small because of the lack of confidence. Latinas are so hardworking and giving; they will provide you with the shoes off their feet but struggle to receive or ask for more. We have a “do it yourself,” “just be grateful,” mentality that has literally been holding us back for generations. We need to break out of this. We come from an environment where we have seen our parents barter/negotiate/trade saying things like, ‘Esta bien llévatelo,’ ‘Págame al rato,’ ‘Dame lo que puedes.’ While these customs might still work in other countries, it simply shouldn’t work for us anymore.”
What’s the best way to ask for a raise? Should we show race/ethnic groups statistics to our supervisors?
“Latina business owners should price according to the value they offer and their business goals. Just because it’s easy for you now, remember all of the time, sacrifices, and investments you had to take so that it could be “easy.” I teach to price according to your financial goals, how you can add more value (no discount) so that people will pay more. A purse from Louis Vuitton does the same thing as a purse from Target. Practice saying the price and say the price confidently. Finally, when you do say it clearly and firmly, shut up. Don’t explain why, don’t justify it. That’s the price. Period.”
What would you say to those who say the pay gap is a lie?
“The pay gap is not a lie; it affects women in every industry, at every education and pay level.”