By: Kayla Wong
Asian women get paid 85 cents for every dollar according to data from the American Association of University Women. Today, in the year 2019, we know and call out the privilege that any one straight, white male has now more than ever. Joining the workforce is already daunting, but with the added worry and pressure of money, life gets even harder. Minorities are culturally oppressed as it is, bringing in the complications of economic-related oppression and discrimination issues is an added aggravation. People should be judged and paid on the effort and quality of one’s work, not on their racial identity or gender. I am just a high school student with a lot of time before I need to get a career job, but I do not want to join the workforce knowing that I am already at a disadvantage because of my gender and ethnicity. That’s not fair. Yes, we all know life is not always going to be fair, but when there are opportunities for change and basic respect; and one is in a position where they can supply others with the things the other deserves, then action must be taken. Women, especially Asian women, have been taught by society to be quiet and submissive. But you can’t get what you want if you don’t ask for it. When one has been taught not to speak up or ask for anything then asking for that promotion or calling others out for injustice in the workplace is not just hard, but going upstream against the status quo. Trying to find power in a society that has built systems to prevent you from getting any is not impossible, but it’s also not a walk in the park. The wage gap is just one example of the systemic oppression of women. The wage gap gets larger for women of different races, Asian women having the smallest wage gap. I cannot comprehend why inequality should exist. It makes no sense whatsoever that women should get paid less for the same work that men do. Identifying as a woman should not be a factor in one’s income. It has been, and continues to be, harder and harder to get to a place where one is equal to their male peers. I don’t want to expect less for doing more. Ever since I was little I was told that I can do or be anything I want. No one told me that I would get paid 15 cents less for every dollar a man makes while doing so. Everyone wants to think that the world is getting better, more equal and fair. However, an issue being brought into the spotlight is not always going to spark big changes. It is hard to break patterns, cycles, routines, but if we continue to work hard and speak up and out for what we deserve, the disparity will become a thing of the past.
Kayla is an avid baker, aspiring filmmaker and creative writer. She is a student board member for Camp Reel Stories, a non-profit for girls like her who use filmmaking and storytelling to promote positive social change. Kayla’s focus is to bring more Asian female representation on and off the screen and equality for women in mainstream society. Fun fact: She likes to paint Bob Ross style landscapes in her spare time.