More than five decades ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, legislation that prohibits pay discrimination based on one’s sex and states that men and women must be paid equally for equal work. But today, 52 years after this momentous occasion, women still bring home less money than men, especially Latinas, who on average earn just 56 cents to a white man’s dollar.
Troubled by this clear sign of gender and racial discrimination, here are eight Latinas who have spoken out about the wage gap and support equal pay.
Jennifer LopezGetty Images View all slides
Lucy FloresCorbis View all slides
America FerreraGetty Images View all slides
Sonia SotomayorCorbis View all slides
Eva LongoriaGetty Images View all slides
Michelle Lujan GrishamCorbis View all slides
Zoe SaldanaGetty Images View all slides
Nydia VelázquezCorbis View all slides
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Lopez, and pal Meryl Streep, made headlines last February when the Boricua enthusiastically cheered on actress Patricia Arquette's Oscar-winning speech-turned-wage-equality-plea, showing that “Jenny From The Block” also wants to close the wage gap.
Flores started making headlines in 2014, when the then-Nevada assemblywoman ran for congress. Though Flores lost, she became a feminist hero for many. Her willingness to talk openly about reproductive rights, discussing her own abortion, violence against women and, yes, equal pay had many on the political right and left talking. In an interview with MSNBC, the 36-year-old Mexican-American politician said, "unequal pay for working women is a serious issue. Even in Nevada, where this gap is less than in other states – with women earning 85 cents to a man’s dollar, ANY difference hurts women and families’ paycheck."
This International Women’s Day, in an email to supporters of the Clinton Foundation, Honduran-American actress and activist Ferrera named the gender wage gap as a major issue for women across the globe. “... there’s a lot we can be proud of when it comes to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls everywhere,” Ferrera, 31, said. “But the truth is, we still have so much more to do. Take the fact that women around the world still don’t have equal pay, or that nine countries around the world don’t provide for paid maternity leave.”
If Justice Sotomayor were ruling, the gender pay gap would be nonexistent. The 60-year-old Nuyorican Supreme Court justice told Forbes in 2013 that, “without women’s groups knocking on doors, I wouldn’t have gotten where I am. We need women to support each other. We still don’t have equal pay.”
Beyoncé wasn't the only celebrity to pen a feminist manifesto for The Shriver Report last year. In an essay titled "Empowering Latinas," Mexican-American actress-director Longoria also made it clear that there’s an economic problem when “Latinas earn less than 60 cents for every dollar a white man earns for the same job."
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Rep. Lujan Grisham (D-NM) is just one of nine Latinas in Congress. But being a part of a vastly underrepresented group hasn't stopped her from championing equal pay. In 2013, this Latina co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act called on congress to close the wage gap, saying, “I know that women cannot afford the continuance of discrimination and lower wages than their male counterparts. As primary caregivers, women must often take time away from their jobs to care for their parents and children and are unjustly penalized with lower wages. Eliminating the wage gap will provide much-needed income to women working to keep a roof over their families heads and food on the table.”
In an interview with Amanda de Cadenet about women in Hollywood, Dominican-Puerto Rican actress Saldana discussed the inequality between men and women in Hollywood. As with other occupations, actresses still, on average, make less than men. In 2009, for instance, the median annual pay in film was $76,500 for men and $62,500 for women.
Rep. Velázquez (D-NY) has repeatedly supported equal pay measures. She co-sponsored both the Paycheck Fairness Act and the re-introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment, which was originally proposed in 1923 to guarantee equal rights for women.