EXCLUSIVE: Gina Rodriguez on the Importance of Equal Pay and Why Women Need to Band Together

Gina Rodriguez Equal Pay Gender Gap Exclusive Interview

There's no denying Gina Rodriguez is a girl's girl. Take one glance at her social media and you'll see she's all about fighting the good fight for equality, and bringing women together. And she does the same for the Latinx community. But the Jane the Virgin star doesn't just talk about it, she really is about it.

Rodriguez teamed up with LUNA, the first nutrition bar for women, for their Equal Pay Day initiative, helping champion for women's equality and driving awareness for the 20 percent gender pay gap women currently face. Did you know Latina women make 55 cents for every dollar that white, non-Hispanic men are paid? According to statistics, at the rate of change between 1960 and 2015, women aren't expected to reach pay equity with men until 2059. Insane, right?

We caught up with the Chicago-born Puerto Rican on Monday to talk all about the gender pay gap, her partnership with LUNA, and why females banding together is so important.

Read it all in our exclusive interview below:

Tell us a little bit about this Equal Pay Day partnership with LUNA and what attracted you most to it.

Equal Pay Day is tomorrow, April 4th, so for the entire week of April 3rd to the 11th, LUNA bars is giving a 20 percent discount to represent the 20 percent gap in gender pay. Which is crazy — just crazy! And there are some states where it is even worse. LUNA will be donating and matching up to $100,000 to the American Association of University Women (AAUW). If you go on their site and see the statistics, it is jaw dropping. You’re like, "oh, wow."

But it’s more than about money. It’s about this idea that there should be equality based on merit, not based on gender, or culture, or race. If you are the best person for the job, you should get paid the way anyone in that position would get paid. And to think that in 2017 there is still a pay gap, to think that woman are still paid on average 20 percent, if not more less percentage-wise in this day in age is bananas.

Now, it’s not an anger thing. It’s not an upset thing. It’s just a change that needs to happen. And how does change happen? By starting a conversation. It’s the same with beauty standards. It’s the same when it comes to Latino perceptions in the media. It’s something that I have been working on for a long time because as a Latina female that grew up in the hood, you’re so appreciative to get out and you’re like, "Oh my god! I graduated college. I’m one of the small statistics to graduate college. Now I’m super excited." Then you go on to accomplishing your dreams and you think, "Wait! Am I going to get paid less than a man? Why? Why? Why ever?" I think you enter this era where it’s not about gratitude; it’s about knowing that you should get paid what you deserve, and what anybody in that position would deserve. So, I had to get myself out of the mindset that I was already so appreciative to get paid period. I feel like culturally, Latinos are so used to uplifting our men — but we are domesticated that way. It’s like; I got my dad’s back. Oh yeah, my brother wants this. I got you! You know what I’m saying? My man? Oh I got my man like a rock. And we have yet to learn how important it is for us to support other women, and how we are stronger in numbers.

It’s the same with the Latino conversation. We are stronger when Latinos come together and unified. We are! That’s just what it is. But that’s another conversation. These are all very central things in my life. These are the things that are important to me, to create unity and equality. Now, those are abstract — 100 percent they are. Equality is definitely an abstract concept because no two people are equal. We are all so different. But when two have the same merit for a job, they should get paid the same. I don’t care what gender, what race, what culture you are. And if we don’t have the conversation, then change never happens.

But as an actress now, and as somebody who can use my social platform, [I will] use my position to talk about these conversations. They aren’t easy. The other day I posted a picture and females were already ripping me to shreds. Females!

Sadly, why is that not surprising?

Right?! And that’s the bigger conversation. Come on ladies, we cannot do this with fallen pieces. We cannot do this with an unstable ground. We have to do this together. We have to work together. We have to fight this good fight together, not tear each other down. That’s the domesticated cultural view that has gotten us to this point. For me it’s definitely working with a company, like LUNA, who are always championing and uplifting other women, and who are women based. They are aligned perfectly with my heart.

Now we have this platform, so lets come together and do something for the betterment of all of us. And it’s not to put anyone else down. I’m just here trying to be a voice for as many women as possible because God gave me this awesome platform that I can talk to multiple people at once, so why wouldn’t I use it for the better benefit of all of us?

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