DKC Voices: Women’s Equal Pay

DKC
6 min readAug 28, 2023

In this edition of DKC Voices, we engage in a compelling dialogue on the crucial subject of Women’s Equal Pay and explore the dynamic ways in which we can advocate for, foster, and embody women’s pay equity within our spheres of influence.

Madison Berrios, Senior Digital Strategist

Over 50 years since the enactment of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Latina women still earn just 54 cents for every dollar earned by White, non-Hispanic men. That means that it takes Latina workers nearly 23 months to be compensated the average national yearly earnings of White men. Latinas play a critical role in America’s workforce accounting for 16% of the female labor force — a number that continues to grow drastically year over year. However, Latinas continue to lose over $1 million dollars in wages during the course of their career and lifetime, in comparison to non-Hispanic White male counterparts. This injustice adversely affects the ENTIRE Latine population and future generations who end up having to endure the generational wealth gaps.

We deserve equal pay for equal work and must not allow ourselves to be discouraged by the statistics! In holding society and employers accountable, we can be grateful while also owning our unique capabilities and demanding pay that is equitable. Too often, Latine culture teaches us to be grateful for opportunities and leave it at that. “Be humble, sit down” is not advice we can afford to take in this regard, especially when it’s difficult to find a seat at the table. Action comes through awareness and recognizing the many factors that contribute to the pay gap (age, education, profession) is imperative. One of the most significant of these factors is REPRESENTATION. Oftentimes, representation in media creates a perception of the types of roles Latinas can occupy in the workforce and alters the way society perceives our value. Latinas have an opportunity to overturn this perception and influence the change that is needed to ensure pay inequalities are addressed. So how can we turn awareness into action?

1. Spotlight the achievements of Latina women across all industries. By celebrating our triumphs, we counteract preconceived notions and create more seats at the table!

2. Have conversations that influence deeper changes in societal and cultural norms.

3. Advocate for flexible work arrangements that empower women to effectively balance their professional and familial responsibilities.

4. Let go of fear surrounding salary negotiation. Boldly vocalize your worth and insist on equitable compensation. ¡PÁGAME EL 100%!

Leanna Truong, Associate Director of Digital Strategy

In AAPI culture, we were raised and told it was respectful to keep your head down and focus on the task provided — don’t cause disruptions. As generations change, I want to advise the younger generation to voice their opinion until they create their own seat at the table, because it matters. Our ancestors and families traveled to America to ensure we have a better lifestyle from job opportunities and freedom of speech, and to make something of ourselves. If you asked me to share a few lifehack secrets that aren’t taught in school, here’s my advice:

1. Gain Financial Literacy: Invest time in learning about personal finance, investing, budgeting, and saving. These are the skills not commonly taught in school, so figuring out how money works will empower you to make informed decisions about your finances, save for the future, and make strategic investments.

2. Set Career Goals: Physically write down short to long-term goals so you don’t lose track of what you want to build for yourself. Along the way you’ll build confidence that fuels your passion and strength by stepping out of your comfort zone. Continue to do research on competitive salary and advocate for equal pay and opportunities, and don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary.

3. Advocate for representation: Get involved in advocacy efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. Representation matters, and your voice can contribute to meaningful change.

Tracy Royal, Executive Vice President

As with most things, change starts at an individual level. By actively supporting and advocating for women’s pay equity, one can contribute to the broader movement toward equality and social progress. Embracing and actively supporting women’s pay equity is a crucial step toward fostering a fair and inclusive environment. By taking intentional actions, you can contribute to closing gender-based wage disparities. Here are a few ways you can make a difference:

Educate Yourself: Begin by understanding the extent and causes of the gender pay gap. Equip yourself with statistics, studies, and personal stories that shed light on the issue.

Advocate for Transparency: Encourage open discussions about salaries and compensation within your company. Transparency can expose unjust pay discrepancies and encourage accountability.

Promote Equal Opportunities: Advocate for equal representation of women in leadership roles. Encourage mentorship and sponsorship programs that help women advance in their careers.

Challenge Bias: Be mindful of unconscious biases that may influence hiring, promotion, and compensation decisions. Encourage fair and objective evaluation processes.

Support Work-Life Balance: Champion flexible work arrangements and family-friendly policies. A balanced approach benefits all employees and contributes to a more inclusive work culture.

Negotiation Support: Offer guidance and resources to help women negotiate their salaries confidently.

Recognize Achievements: Highlight and celebrate the accomplishments of women in your sphere. Acknowledging their contributions reinforces their value and encourages a culture of recognition.

Collaborate and Amplify: Collaborate with others to amplify the voices advocating for pay equity. Participate in initiatives, events, and campaigns that raise awareness about the issue.

Demand Accountability: If your company lacks pay equity policies, advocate for their implementation. Push for regular reviews of compensation practices to ensure fairness.

Cerise Wright, Vice President of Digital Strategy

Women were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. In fact, women of color and those working in hospitality were hit the hardest. Growing up, my mother worked as a waitress with late hours and holiday work being the norm, so this hit home for me. As an Afro-Latina of immigrant parents, and the first in my family to graduate from college, I know a thing or two about the “proverbial hustle.” I’ve worked very hard at my craft to make the “American Dream” possible for my parents, and me.

When I first started working at Madison Avenue’s ‘big agency” jobs or publishing conglomerates, I was typically the only Black presenting person in the room. I often asked myself during those early days “Why aren’t more people that look like me here?” Fast forward to today, where companies are more cognizant of the benefits that diversity and inclusion initiatives impart on organizational teams, I am grateful to report that my team members reflect a beautiful rainbow-hued family, each with a unique perspective and professional expertise to offer our clients.

Agency life is full of glitter and grit. For me, it’s important to support the professional growth of all team members, especially those who are often overlooked for promotions or are underpaid. On average, Latinas in the US are paid 45% less than white men and 30% less than white women. They have the dubious distinction as the group that works longer than every other racial and ethnic group — 23 months — to earn what white men earn in 12 months. (source: https://www.ibm.com/). If we are to bridge this gap, we all have to do our part and that starts with you and me. I do this by serving as a mentor to the young women of color who have interned at DKC and H4. I also work with my executive team to promote and offer pay raises when warranted and the company budget allows, to ensure that the young women of color on our team are rewarded for their work.

We still have a long way to go. There are conscious and unconscious biases that contribute to the Black and Brown pay gap and lack of generational wealth in communities of color. Every step we take forward, by reaching back and creating opportunities for underserved communities, is a step in the right direction. For example, taking stock of diversity among agency leadership personnel allows us as a community the ability to see where we may have gaps to fill in DEI at DKC. We should all be asking ourselves, what more can we do.

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