Category Archives: Think

A Lesson Learned: The Black Tax

This is the most recent Intersectional Money feature.

When I first heard of and read articles that referenced the Black tax, it was often described in the context of Black Americans and immigrants who are having to deal with the financial and emotional pressure of supporting family members. As someone who is a twice immigrant, of mixed race and identifies as a Black woman, I connected with that assumption and for a time explained it as such when asked about the Black tax. 

I learned that I was wrong.

What is the Black tax, really?

In the fall of 2019, I began to learn more about what the Black tax truly is. I realized that many were talking about its emotional impact, but few correlated the historical context and quantified the economic ramifications of how Black Americans are systemically treated. Only after reading The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America by author Shawn D. Rochester did it become clear to me how pervasive this tax is because it affects every aspect of our lives.

What is the Black tax? It is the financial cost of multi-generational economic disparity and discrimination against Black Americans due to explicit and implicit anti-Black bias. 

This prejudicial tax is found in virtually every sector of our economic landscape including:

  • Employment.
  • Real estate.
  • Auto lending. 
  • Business financing. 
  • Education.
  • Healthcare.
  • Government policies. 

To understand how the Black tax impacts nearly 50 million Black Americans today and the fact that they own only 2% of the wealth in the U.S. after four centuries, we must look in the rear-view mirror of history.

Note: The author of The Black Tax, Shawn D. Rochester, will be speaking at the first day of the Elevate conference. Grab your free ticket here!

History of the Black Tax

The Emancipation Proclamation issued on January 1, 1863 by Abraham Lincoln said that all slaves in the South should be set free. The reality is that it took several years for all Black slaves in the U.S. to be liberated. White landowners had no intention of giving up their primary source of labour —  i.e. black slaves — that easily. 

Former slave owners, along with elected officials, devised new ways to continue slavery by another name. Black codes, vagrancy laws, convict leasing, and sharecropping contracts, served as a legal means to continue to discriminate against Black Americans and ensure that former Black slaves would end up working their lands for little to no pay or be forced into debt servitude.

The Homestead Act

The wealth gap for Black Americans was exacerbated through measures such as The Homestead Act of 1862 which gave a combined 270 million acres to 1.6 million families until the legislation was repealed in 1976. 

Former slaves were also eligible to submit a claim. However, the filing cost of $18 plus $6 to receive an official land patent, paying $1.25/acre, and requirements that included building a home and farming the land was unaffordable for the vast majority. 

Over 99% of the 1.6 million who benefited were White families. It is estimated that up to 93 million Americans today are beneficiaries of this land allocation. 

40 Acres and a Mule

Special Field Order N15 issued by General Sherman in 1865, commonly referred to as the original reparations for slavery act which promised “40 acres and a mule” to former Black slaves, was essentially nullified when President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation to return the 400,000 acres of confiscated land back to White southern owners. 

Jim Crow Laws

Jim Crow laws, enacted in the late 19th through early 20th century, entrenched racial segregation in every aspect of public life: Education, transportation, facilities, and workplaces. The laws also contributed to the financial inequality suffered by Black Americans and lack of access to land and/or capital prevented the creation of wealth building opportunities. 

Black citizens who were able to build a community that flourished, such as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK, and in Rosewood, FL, among others, were perceived as a threat to the White establishment. Their towns were literally burned to the ground and many Black residents were beaten and/or murdered.

Redlining

The practice of redlining was formalized in the National Housing Act of 1934 — an act which also established the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Residential maps were created for cities across the U.S. and housing zones from the newest to the declining areas were outlined. The older areas tended to be where many Black neighborhoods were situated. 

These maps were used by government and private mortgage lending entities to facilitate racial segregation through the denial of loans to Black applicants who wanted to purchase property in new White suburban communities and refusing to insure mortgages in predominately Black communities. Redlining and the use of blacklists directly contributed to Black neighborhoods not being able to attract and keep families, and spurred a decrease in their property values.

The Wagner Act

In 1935, Congress passed The Wagner Act, legalizing labour unions. But it made certain to allow unions to exclude non-Whites until the late 1970s. As a result, many Black Americans did not have access to higher paying jobs with benefits and healthcare. 

Discrimination Continues into the 21st Century

Lest we think that policies such as redlining and other discriminatory practices against Black Americans have ceased, we only need to look at recent settlements. 

Big Banks Facing Consequences for Racial Discrimination

In 2015, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) substantiated complaints that Associated Bank intently rejected mortgage applications from Black and Latino applicants. Another investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) proved that Hudson City Savings Bank also denied fair access to mortgages for Black Americans and Latinos. In both instances, in addition to a sizable monetary penalty, the settlements required the respective banks to open branches in non-White communities.

Just last year, in 2019, Wells Fargo paid $10 million in a settlement stemming from a lawsuit that alleged that they engaged in discriminatory lending practices which caused high foreclosure rates in Black and minority neighborhoods. In 2012, the same bank agreed to pay $184.3 million for allegations that it charged higher mortgage interest rates and fees along with issuing subprime loans to Black Americans and Latinos despite them having favourable credit scores. 

Racial bias against Black Americans persists to this day in corporate America. In the most recent bias allegation against Bank of America, the latter paid $4.2 million in 2019 to settle government claims that the bank discriminated against Black, Latino, and female applicants in their hiring practices. 

The Black Tax, Business and Career

Black men and women continue to lag financially and professionally compared to their White counterparts in the workplace due to factors such as: 

  • The pay equity gap. 
  • Lack of salary transparency. 
  • Biased hiring and management practices. 
  • Poorly implemented diversity, equity and inclusion programs that do not address issues that are specific to Black employees
  • Lack of career growth and advancement opportunities to senior management and C-suite roles.

Access to business capital and financing continues to be a hurdle for Black Americans. If they do manage to obtain credit it will likely cost them more, however the typical result is that they are denied access. Since the net worth of Black American families only accounts for one tenth of that of Whites, Black business owners are forced to use personal credit or borrow from family and friends to fund a start-up. The disparity of business financing results in Black businesses not being able to scale or employ others to further benefit their communities. 

Online survey results reported by TIME magazine regarding the 2020 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) EIDL and PPP loans issued in response to the economic impact of COVID-19 further underscores the financial challenges that Black business owners experience.

The Black Tax Exists Today 

It is estimated that Black Americans have been deprived of upwards of trillions in today’s dollars due to anti-Black discriminatory laws and practices that instead benefitted the economic trajectory of White Americans. The latter are significantly more likely to receive inheritances and a larger amount of it than Black Americans. 

The Black population continues to pay the price for being Black in America and the cumulative effects from slavery to this day have led to a collective emotional and financial trauma that seems nearly impossible to overcome. Yet the words of the poem written by the late Maya Angelou, “Still, I Rise”, rings ever true. 

Black Americans are committing themselves in greater numbers than ever before to economic development and giving of their talents, time, and resources to their community. They have realized that higher education is not the only “pathway to success”– especially as there are serious racial inequities and financial obstacles regarding access to quality education. It will take a concerted and consistent effort on all fronts to make the necessary inroads for Black people to create intergenerational wealth.

Reducing the Impact of the Black Tax

The collective purchasing power of Black Americans is reported to exceed 1.2 trillion annual US dollars. There is a growing consensus of the need to direct more of that purchasing power towards supporting Black businesses. Some of the key ways to reduce the impact of the Black tax include:

  • Purchasing products and services from Black establishments. 
  • Hiring Black Americans for well-paying roles.
  • Banking Black.
  • Requiring that governments and corporations devote a larger percentage of their annual spend to Black companies. 

In closing, consider this article as a brief introduction to the Black tax. My hope is that readers of all races will further educate themselves on the topic. Also, that readers will be motivated to act upon what they can do to counter anti-Black bias, both at a personal and systemic level. 

Kassandra Dasent is a financial wellness engineer and speaker. Focusing on how emotional awareness can have a direct and lasting impact on one’s relationship with money, Kassandra provides her audiences with practical solutions to help them achieve holistic wealth. Kassandra is also a certified project manager (PMP/CSM) and Founder of BridgeTech Enterprises. She has been featured in numerous media outlets including Forbes, US News & World Report, Business Insider, Fast Company, Travel Noire, Thrive Global, Yahoo! Finance and News, and Glamour.

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This is not new.

Things can feel really heavy sometimes right now. I — futilely, perhaps — try to grasp for rays of hope where I can. And one of the things I’ve been appreciating over the past few weeks is how much I have had the opportunity to learn.

Here’s some of what I’ve been learning. And some of the things you can expect from Femme Frugality moving forward.

The American Criminal ‘Justice’ System

Ava DuVernay is beyond talented at what she does. I would recommend watching everything she’s ever made.

But in this moment in particular, watch 13th. It’s a Netflix documentary, but Netflix has made it free in full on YouTube. So you don’t even need a subscription.

If you do nothing else after reading this post, watch this documentary. It’s mandatory viewing.

Donate to Pittsburgh Organizations.

Our city has an incredible capacity to grow and change into a better version of itself. But right now, we have a lot of work to do to activate that potential.

Significant action is required to help make necessary improvements happen. Here are a bunch of great organizations in SWPA on the ground doing the work. Please support them if you can.

Short on cash, or simply want to do more than just reach in your pocket? Here are some other things white people can do.

Moving Forward.

To learn more about personal finances from an African-American perspective, check out the talented creators listed in this Jason Butler article.

In the coming months on this site, you will see a revival of the Intersectional Money Series here on Femme Frugality. Honestly, this effort has been in the works for a while.

When you read the articles by the phenomenal contributing writers, it may seem like some of the subject matter is curated for this moment.

It was not.

Which may send a message in and of itself: These issues were important before. They were as real and as visceral earlier in the year when the writers selected them as they have been in the past weeks. They will continue to be urgent until and even after there is significant and meaningful change.

Let us all actively choose and work to be part of that change.

Watch. And subscribe to Candice’s channel.

Contextualizing Trauma in Personal Finance Content

Hi, I love you all and hope you are holding up okay. Just a note before today’s post to remind you that I’m not a psychologist, psychiatrist or any other type of mental health professional. Also, a trigger warning that this post deals with themes that are congruent with other types of trauma outside of or concurrent with the effects of the current pandemic.

We are all grappling with what’s happening around us. It’s been traumatic. While it’s definitely been harder for some more than others, this pandemic is something that has affected us all.

I really liked this analogy from Brittany Packnett Cunningham, that we’re all in the same storm, but we are NOT all in the same boat.

This type of trauma is difficult. It’s persistent. Inescapable. You learn to live in it without fully getting the chance to step out of it and recover.

In the midst of all this, we’re all more irritable. Our buttons are easier to push than ever, with stress maxing out our tolerance for bullshit.

In the midst of all this trauma, I want to contextualize the personal economic discussions you’re sure to see flying around the web right now, especially on personal blogs like this one.

These are my interpretations of what I see happening around me in my community — and honestly within my own content. My interpretation may differ from your own, and I welcome respectful discussion in the comments.

Responses to Trauma

There are three basic responses to trauma with which I’m familiar enough to reference. None of these responses are right or wrong. They’re defense mechanisms your body is using to try to survive. To get through to that next moment when danger is no longer imminent.

Fight

One response to trauma is to try to fight your way out.

This might manifest in your personal finances with a newfound hyper-vigilance over your budgeting spreadsheet.

It might make you side hustle super hard.

You might also find yourself fighting for the health and safety of those around you above economic impact.

Whether that’s begging your mom not to go to work or working on a larger scale to assist those most exposed to the virus get the equipment, care or social programming they need.

Because this economic hardship and all the trauma that comes along with it is likely to last for a long time — though I do not yet believe it will last forever — a sustained fight response is also likely to lead to burn out. Maybe even crash-and-burn-style burnout.

Flight

If your response is flight, right now things are complicated.

If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve seen that vlogger who tried to escape to Hawaii. And another blogger who packed her family in an RV to escape the NYC area.

Both situations were met with much ridicule, and understandably so. No links because this is not about shaming these people. Their responses are anecdotally relevant here, though.

In normal times, flight is an okay thing to do. These are not normal times. Exercising flight in traditional ways can be dangerous to the health of others around you, if not to your own.

Diet & Exercise are just like Personal Finance!

Exercising as a way to express flight is a thing — especially right now as we’re metaphorically running from a temporally inescapable problem.

So if you’re really annoyed by everyone pretending they’re a marathon runner or feel like simply scrolling through your feed right now is akin to ritual shaming, know that it’s not about you.

Also, remember you got that mute button. 😉

A lot of people are dealing with the stress this way. It’s normal. For some people, it’s even super healthy.

You’re probably going to see a lot of blog posts about how diet and exercise are just like personal finance.

If it doesn’t resonate with you, that’s okay. You can go read something else, perhaps even noting that this content may be helping others who are dealing with all this trauma in a different way than you are.

If you’re creating this content, it would also be cool if you could be conscientious that flight is not the only way of dealing with all the stress. That you can take things too far with diet and exercise. And that if someone comes out of this thing without a six-pack or $100k net worth, it definitely doesn’t make them an inferior human being.

But like also don’t touch that 401(k).

The market looks scary right now.

But rocky times in the economy should already be accounted for your long-term plan. Pulling out of the market feels like the right thing to do thanks to the flight response, but depending on how you’ve invested, it’s likely to be detrimental to your own long-term financial goals.

Even if you’re not able to contribute to your retirement account, try to do everything you can to avoid touching your retirement savings.

Know that in so many cases, even in bankruptcy, creditors cannot touch most tax-advantaged retirement account savings.

That being said, the complications of living with a bankruptcy on your record can be dire in the best of times. Make the best decisions you can based on your own, individual circumstances. You may even be able to consult with a pro bono lawyer to get personalized legal guidance when considering bankruptcy vs. pulling from your retirement savings.

Also beware long-term that those who have endured trauma tend to be unnecessarily and sometimes detrimentally conservative with their investments.

Freeze

Freezing is another perfectly valid response to stress. Traditionally, your body might shut down or shield you from pain responses to help you survive the initial impact of physical trauma. You might feel the need to cut yourself off from others virtually, even when we are separated physically already.

In response to economic trauma, you might need this time to rest. To not hustle super hard. To gather your energy for what comes next. Emotionally recover from all the freedom and personal power you have lost in the past month.

That’s okay, too. Just know it’s going to be helpful long-term to generally keep on top of your finances as much as possible, even if you can’t give them the boost they may need right now. None of this is your fault.

There are no right or wrong reactions.

In response to trauma, there are no right or wrong reactions as far as which response manifests. I think as we each pull through this thing in our own way, we need to remember that we’re all going to respond differently.

Because this experience is sustained, we might even cycle through different reactions. That’s actually supposed to be healthier than habituating one of them, even though habituation is likely to happen in cases of sustained trauma.

That means not every article is going to speak to our individual experience. That’s okay. In fact, that same article that doesn’t speak to you today could end up being really motivating or reassuring a few weeks or even days down the line.

Take as little offense as possible if you’re not reacting the way a certain writer proposes you should be. It’s just going to add to your stress. In many cases, it’s an unnecessary burden in this time of sheer overwhelm.

If you’re creating content, it’s helpful to remember this, too. To not insult those who are dealing with the stress differently in any given moment in an attempt to inspire.

Because while there’s not one, right reaction to the trauma we’ve all experienced, we also need to remember that there are multiple ways of dealing with this experience.

Just because we haven’t experienced a reaction personally doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

And just because we have experienced a reaction personally doesn’t mean it’s superior to the response of others.

Harnessing our reactions for the better.

If you find yourself in fight mode, by all means use that energy to send those personal finances into to hyperdrive. That’s how this blog was born.

It’s also why I can tell you first-hand that when you’re in fight mode, the risk of burnout is real. Be cognizant of it, and try real hard to do all that mindfulness stuff to bring yourself back to center. Force yourself to take breaks, even if they initially feel uncomfortable.

If you find yourself in flight mode, be cognizant that the very natural reaction to want to pull out of all financial institutions in a moment like this is real.

But it’s against all traditional financial advice, even and perhaps especially the stuff written for turbulent times like these.

If you find yourself frozen, that’s okay, too. You’re going to have more energy after everyone else has jogged and side hustled their way through this first period of the downturn. Take care of your mental health first and foremost.

If you really just can’t get going again, seek help via a telehealth service like www.betterhelp.com. As much as stalling out is sometimes the only thing you can do, your bills don’t see things the same way I do.

There are programs out there to help right now. The first Pennsylvanian unemployment check with that $600/week boost just went out. Some assistance is coming, even if we’re slow to see the money manifest in our pocketbooks.

No matter what your response, before your money, you want to address your mental health. Just because you’re not frozen doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.

Support Small Business with Fun Face Masks

This post is in collaboration with Etsy.

Wearing masks was not a part of American culture prior to this pandemic. But masks are an effective way to combat this virus and get our society back to functional sooner.

Studies show that while wearing a mask yourself can protect you to some degree and is definitely a good hygiene habit in our current environment, the most important reason to wear a mask is to respect and protect those around you.

The virus is fought most effectively when those who may have the virus keep microdroplets from escaping their own personal space in the first place. That is accomplished by wearing a mask.

It’s important to note that your viral load is highest before you start showing symptoms. That means that those who are most likely to spread the virus won’t have any idea they even have it until after the threat of giving it to others is at its highest.

It’s estimated that if we could get at least 80% of people wearing masks, we’d be able to fight this virus more effectively than through additional shut downs where people are not wearing masks. You can learn more about this and other science here.

While I’m spending money on masks anyways, I’m looking to spend it at a small business.

Fortunately, there’s a platform that meets all three of my personal shopping criteria. Etsy is a platform full of small businesses, and the non-medical-grade, machine-washable face mask options are plentiful.

10 Fun Face Masks

As I was narrowing down my options, I came to a realization: I’m a nerdy kid from the 90s, and it shows.

With that in mind, here are some of my favorite fun face masks I found on Etsy:

Vader Face Mask

Join the dark side with this Imperial covering!

Baby Yoda Face Mask

How is everything with baby Yoda on it so adorable? If you prefer the light side, check out OneStopRave!

Black & Gold Face Mask

Be still, my yinzer heart. I’m choosing to interpret this black and gold face mask from GoldenSkyToronto as an ode to Pittsburgh.

Sequin Mask

I’m not really doing any fancy things lately — and super don’t encourage you to, either. But for those occasions when you venture out of the house and want to take things to the next level just for you, these sequin masks from PersianJewelryShop are it.

Plus, they come in 25 different colors!

DC Heroines Face Mask

I feel like this time of crisis is a good time to call on these female archetypes. Available via pinkpurr.

Hello Kitty Face Mask

Who else crushed on Hello Kitty when they were a kid? Hello Kitty’s still rad, so I was excited when I found this mask from Macochi.

It comes in child and adult size!

Tiger Face Mask

I love this one because it simultaneously celebrates our collective cultural obsession with Tiger King while throwing us back to Thundercats, but it’s not so specific that it won’t still bring smiles after any one, specific trend has faded.

Handcraftedsterling has a bunch of other fun animal face masks in her shop, too.

Don’t forget the kids’ face masks!

A lot of the face masks on Etsy can be ordered in kid size or adult size. I did stumble across a couple cute ones made especially for kids!

Kids’ Girl Face Masks

I’m in love with this print, but GreerTW has a TON of different options for girls. There are some traditionally boy-themed patterns, too, but options skew pink.

Kids’ Boy Face Masks

Lots of traditionally boy-themed options, at DeTudoUmPoucobyAddie. Though I legit would have loved these when I was a kid, too. There’s also some pink sprinkled into the fabric options.

Buzz Lightyear Face Mask

You can pick up this cotton kids’ face mask at ByZari’s Etsy shop. This particular pattern sold out!

We’ll get through this, friends. To infinity, and beyond!

You don’t need a daughter to care about gender equality.

This weekend we’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day. On March 8th, to be exact.

This post is just one of many in a content celebration over at Personal Finance by Women.

Why is gender equality important?

You shouldn’t care about gender equality only because you have a mother.

Or a daughter.

Or a wife.

You should care about gender equality at a basic moral level. Because when one group of people’s freedoms are limited, no one is truly free.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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You should care about gender equality because it’s not right that someone can work just as many hours and earn less money.

It’s not right that it will be argued that those hours aren’t worked “as hard” when they’re worked by women.

It’s not right that women feel pressured to reenter the labor force before they’re physically healed from childbirth. Because we’re under some misled notion in this country that the cause of the gender pay  gap is somehow maternity leave.

Women lead the small business sector in terms of growth. It’s not right that they have trouble securing funding for those small businesses. Most of the money goes to male-owned startups. Effectively stunting growth.

Actions spurred on by gender inequality are illogical.

Its impacts may be disproportionate, but not pursuing gender equality negatively impacts everyone in a society.

Don’t care just because you have a female relative.

Care because it’s wrong and detrimental to society at large.

How does gender equality help support sustainable development?

Gender equality is the UN’s fifth Sustainable Development Goal.

Why is it so important?

Well, for one thing, the world economy can and has benefited from increased gender equality. Over the past 50 years, 50% of global economic growth can be directly attributed to the increased education of girls.

Today, it is estimated that increasing female employment rates in OECD countries to that of Sweden — which is one of the most gender equal countries in the world — would boost GDP by $6 trillion.

When women are allowed to work and are then compensated fairly for their work, the entire economy performs better.

It is also important to note that the UN has determined the most dangerous place in the world for a woman is in her own home, and that domestic violence is a primary concern when we talk about sustainable development.

What can I do to run a gender-equal workplace?

Obviously big, institutional changes need to happen if we’re going to squash gender inequality completely, if that’s even an obtainable goal.

But there are things you can do to work towards a more gender-equal world, especially if you own a business or have some type of managerial control over your work environment.

Don’t Demonstrate or Tolerate Inappropriate Workplace Behavior

The only workplaces I’ve operated in where I have not experienced inappropriate behavior have been those dominated by women.

Whether you’re hitting on a woman, telling a gross joke, or comparing her looks to those of her coworkers, none of it is appropriate.

Don’t even get close to that line, and do not tolerate the behavior in any of your business dealings — whether it’s a client you’re assigning to the sales team or that annoying jerk at the water cooler.

If women don’t feel safe in the workplace, they’re less likely to advocate for themselves — with due cause. This can result in anything from less confidence in salary negotiations to her leaving the job altogether — perhaps even without an explanation.

Inappropriate behavior makes women feel unsafe. It doesn’t matter whether you think it ‘should’ make them feel unsafe or not. It does.

And that is more than enough reason to stop.

Flexible Work Hours

In an office environment, you could operate your business so it’s open longer, but employees have more flexible options.

For example, you may be open 7a to 6p. You could then require employees to pick any 8 hours to come in and work. As long as they’re attending necessary meetings and getting their work done, it shouldn’t matter if they need to run home for an hour to get their kids off the bus or drive someone to soccer practice.

This and other larger, institutional measures are suggested by Chatón T. Turner, Esq. in The Feminist Financial Handbook.

Implement Parental Leave Policies

Oh, did you just assume that was mom getting the kids off the bus and driving everyone to soccer practice?

We assume women are primary caretakers. We assume that is their primary role — one they are morally obligated to dedicate more time to than the paid work which feeds their families.

If we want to remove this perception, we need to encourage and recognize that men can be primary caretakers, as well.

Providing parental leave policies, and actively encouraging employees to take advantage of them is a key step.

Allow for Remote Work Opportunities

Where possible, allow for remote work opportunities. While we’re working towards a gender equal world, the burden of childcare still falls largely on women in this moment. Women who are the heads of the overwhelming majority of single-parent homes.

Allowing for remote work acknowledges the extra burden women continue to shoulder as de facto primary caretakers. It permits them to stay home when the kiddos are sick without losing their job. It allows them to add value to your company even in a situation where they’d typically face gender discrimination — and you’d typically have to go through the time and expense of finding a new hire.

And it allows men to do the same, further normalizing the care of children as a responsibility all parents must shoulder regardless of gender.

That’s not to say that remote work eliminates the need for childcare. It definitively does not.

But the flexibility it grants does make it easier to build a schedule around those childcare routines.

Publish Salary Audits

Oof. No fun.

But neither is the gender pay gap.

Or the racial/ethnocentric pay gap.

Or the pay gap gender minorities experience in the workplace.

Publishing salary audits does a few different things. First, it keeps you honest. You know you’re going to be publishing this information. Hopefully that fact encourages you to pay people equitably.

It also builds trust. Your employees are now empowered to ask for what they’re worth if they’re not getting it. If they are, it builds further respect.

I’m not a boss. How can I work towards a more gender equal world?

While the burden is on no individual woman to force the system to respect her, there are things you can do even if you’re not the one in charge of your workplace.

A lot of the changes we need to happen are cultural, and cultural opinions change one person at a time. When you find yourself in a conversation where gender discrimination is at play, challenge it when it’s safe to do so.

The other big thing you can do is vote. Research who is running in your area, where they stand on different issues, and if they support the cause of equality in potential legislation or judicial conscience.

Not just gender equality. Also racial equality. Equality for the Rainbow community. Equality for the disabled, the victims of Islamaphobia, xenophobia and all the prejudices that come up against Americans in the workplace and elsewhere in their day-to-day lives.

Because until we all have equal access to true economic freedom and justice, all the arguments about individual economic actualization are moot.