Pa’lante – Keep Moving Forward
Celebrating 25 Years of Women’s Progress
By Marisa Rivera
Feliz 25 Cumpleaños – LATINA Style, Inc. As we celebrate the silver anniversary of LATINA Style’s 50 Awards & Diversity Leaders Conference, we must also celebrate women’s accomplishments over the past 25 years. As I reflected on the advancement and progress of women over the last 25 years, we can be proud of the many women who have broken the glass ceiling. Over the last 25 years, we have witnessed how women have achieved some major leadership roles, such as Kamala Harris, becoming the first female U.S. Vice-President in 2021, Nancy Pelosi becoming the first women Speaker of the House in 2007, and Sonia Sotomayor becoming the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in 2009. We have also witnessed how women have become the fastest growing small business owners in America and are completing more higher education degrees than men. But progress has been slow.
Women represent the majority of the U.S. population – 51 percent, but only represent 28 percent of Congress. Twenty-five years ago, we only had 63 women in Congress and four Latinas and today we have 153 women in Congress and 20 Latinas in Congress (Pew Center & CAWP).
25 Years – Women Gains
|U.S. Supreme Court||2||4||0||1|
|U.S. Vice President||0||1||0||0|
|Speaker of the House||0||1||0||0|
|Pay for women||74 cents of what men make||84 cents of what men make||51 cents of what men make||57 cents of what men make|
Sources: CAWP, Pew Research Center, Investopedia.com, U.S. Labor Department, U.S. Census Bureau, www.LeanIn.org, MNSBC, www.aauw.org,
Pay equity has also been a struggle for women to achieve equality with men. Gender pay gap, refers to the disparity in incomes between men and women for doing the same work. Gender pay gap in U.S. hasn’t changed much in two decades (Pew Research 2023) and it persist in being one of the most discriminatory acts against women, especially when we have over 80% or over 8 million single households being led by single moms (parentingmode.com). This is a huge dis-service not only for women and her families, but also to our national economy. We could be infusing billions of dollars into our economy if we only paid women an equal share. Latinas lose 1.2 million over a 40-year career, due to the wage gap (MSNBC). The wage rate for Latinas has only changed 4% since 1988 (www.aauw.org).
Women athletes have had better results in getting their paid equity, but not without a fight. The U.S. national women’s soccer team, had to bring the gold home and still fight for a fair compensation. They won a $24 million settlement in a yearslong legal battle for equal working conditions and fair compensation (NPR).
We can be proud of our progress, but it has been a painfully slow progress. If we continue at this rate, it will take another 200 years to achieve equality. I hope that it does not take us another 231 years to have another women speaker of the house, or a women Vice-President of the US.
We must continue to raise our voices, continue the struggle and a call to action to keep asking – Where are the Women? and fight for equity and equality while demand our righteous place in leadership, in pay equity and in the public and private sectors – it’s the right thing to do, for women and for our country! Pa’lante, let’s keep moving forward!
Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership and empowerment consultant. [email protected]