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3 ways to close the Latina pay gap

Today is Latina Equal Pay Day, the extra 10 months and one day Latina women in the U.S. had to work to earn as much money as white men made last year. 

On average, Latinas are paid 53 cents for every dollar that white, non-Hispanic men make, according to the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. That’s like taking a dollar and ripping it in half.

I sat down with Yai Vargas, the founder and CEO of a professional networking organization called “The Latinista,” to find out what’s behind the pay gap and what can be done to correct it.

Vargas was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up here in the U.S. She believes that Hispanic women need to be confident and comfortable about their value at work.

“[It’s about] really understanding the power that their experiences, their upbringing, and their background brings to the table. It’s about being able to use that diversity of upbringing, of thought, into the workforce and having people really understand what they’re bringing to the table,” she said.

As things stand right now, a Hispanic woman loses more than 1 million dollars in potential wages over the span of her career. Here are Vargas’s top three top tips for Hispanic women looking to close the gap.

“Number one is talk about money. Money should never be a taboo topic. Really understand … what the women around you are making as well as what the men are making. The number two thing is find a mentor or a sponsor that’s going to help you understand how to navigate the workforce. There are so many women out there that have already achieved such success. You just have to make sure that you’re surrounding yourself around the right community. The third tip is understanding how to upskill. That means learning something new, continuous education, making sure that you’re constantly doing something every single day that’s going to help you get ahead in the workplace,” she said.

These tips apply to U.S. women as a whole. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a woman earns 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earns. So ladies and gentlemen, let’s get back to work and fix this together!

Sibile Marcellus is an on-air reporter covering the day’s top stories in business for Yahoo Finance’s three daily live shows. Follow her on Twitter @sibileTV 

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