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One Easy Thing All Allies Can Do to Help Close the Gender and Racial Pay Gap

1 Easy Way All Allies Can Help Close the Gender and Racial Pay Gap

If you’re a rad intersectional ally who wants to make life fairer for everyone, there’s one incredibly easy thing you can do—right now—to close the gender and racial wage gap. It has to do with pay transparency. It’s an incredibly powerful form of activism, and it can be done by almost anyone. Are you ready? Here it is…

Tell your coworkers how much money you make.

Especially women, people of color, disabled people, immigrants, and any one else who is part of a historically marginalized or exploited group.

And be specific and honest! No ranges, no euphemisms, just the exact number that appears on your paycheck. Don’t skip over any bonuses, raises, or other perks you’ve earned or negotiated, such as extra vacation time, remote work days, or tuition reimbursement.

Pay transparency is a tremendous boon to yourself as well as them. And we need it now, more than ever. Here’s why.

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The Latte Factor, Poor Shaming, and Economic Compassion

There’s a piece of conventional financial wisdom called the Latte Factor. It goes like this: if you’re looking to save money or pay off debt, start by skipping small luxuries like lattes and instead put that money toward your financial goals. The single digit savings will add up to a significant amount over time. All because you had the fortitude to practice a little self-control. It’s a simple, effective way to find some wiggle room in your budget and a great first step toward living a frugal lifestyle.

The Latte Factor is both virtuous and practical. It gives its frugal practitioner a sense of self-righteous superiority over those who continue to waste their money on overpriced, over-sweetened, caffeinated beverages every day. And because it’s such a simple solution, those preaching the gospel of frugality peddle it like a magic elixir. Can’t seem to save money? Just skip the latte! It works miracles!

Yet to those who truly struggle with systemic poverty, getting advice about the Latte Factor feels horribly condescending. In fact, being told that skipping a small luxury here and there will raise you up out of your low-income status feels downright cruel and deliberately ignorant. Because in cases of economic disenfranchisement, a lack of frugality is not the root of the problem.

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