In 2016 it’s really depressing learning about #EqualPayDay especially when you identify as a Latina. I've included 2016 here intentionally because I long for the day when I will tell future generations of Latinas that I lived through this moment.
The American Association ofUniversity Women (AAUW) has marked Latina Equal Pay Day on October 15th that’s great AND the more myself and other Latina’s can express about how we feel and learn more about this topic the better.
So what happens when you learn that in the state of California, where I live, “Latina’s earn 43.6 cents for every dollar a man makes.” Inside your head you scream, “WTF!”
And then it’s the Fear-Action-Brightside emotional rollercoaster I ride when thinking about Equal Pay as a Latina.
Fear definitely can pull you down the rabbit hole of hopelessness especially with this question in mind, “If I can’t earn enough how will I ____(fill in with the blanks listed below)?”
Blanks List: find a higher paying job, pay off my college loans, buy a house, retire, raise a child, buy organic food, buy non-toxic household items, buy non-toxic cosmetics, go on vacation, have a savings, donate to charities, not drive myself crazy thinking I will have to work my entire life away?
Fear continued, “Have I worked so hard to get an advanced degree, believe in the ‘American Dream’ that I can do/be anything I want in this country, only to feel that I will never financially succeed in this skin in this life?”
Next, I tell myself, “Stop. Pause. Deep breath. Right now in this moment I make what my male colleagues make.” But what about my future? What can I do to prepare for it? Write a letter? Sign a petition? I rise above the despair and tell myself, “Josie, you are your own advocate. In the workplace you’ll have to be courageous and ask questions.”
And because I have to teach myself how to advance in the workplace, I go to Google to find the answers. AAUW, Levo League and CareerContessa have taught me:
If I allowed statistical data to determine my life it would be the death of my dreams. I wouldn't be the woman I am today. It’s not in my spirit to throw my hands up, I’ll always choose to do what I can every step of the way.
This mindset has helped me honor those who came before me and will help people in the future.