About My Passion for Women's Rights
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
My passion for helping women succeed at their careers came from what I experienced first hand as a woman in the workforce. My first job was as a server at weddings. I had to stand with a tray of champagne glasses until my arm was shaking, but “don’t forget to smile!” I was fifteen.
After a few weeks my supervisor asked me to go home with him. He was nearly three times my age and smelled like cigars. I know. Such a cliche. I declined and he immediately took away my work shifts. I went to the owner to report my supervisor, but the two were the best of buds.
The owner called me a bitch for exposing his friend and docked my pay check. I left that job pretty confused about the whole working thing and life in general. I was also pretty bummed because I was saving up for a hot pink flip phone.
My next job was as a fitness instructor in the fanciest gym in town. This was at the height of the Zumba craze and I caught the first wave. Hundreds of people came to my class. The gym made thousands off me that year. And paid me ... minimum wage.
They shamelessly paid a male instructor more, even though he kept confusing left and right (he wrote it on his hands). I asked to be paid as much as him. My boss said, "Why do you need more money? Don't you live in a dorm?" I left that job too. I did not fight back.
I decided to become professionally trained as a fighter, and I went to law school. My studies took me all over the world. I studied law in the Netherlands while eating stroopwafels, in France while drinking wine, and in Canada while camping in the wilderness. I know, rough life right?
You can be sure that I think about those days when I have a toddler yelling in my ear at 5 a.m. In 2012, I graduated with a Masters in Law from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in beautiful San Diego. I finally settled down. Got married. Entered the field of law eager to be of service to those in need.
Prior to working at my current firm, Gruenberg Law, I did pro bono work for victims of torture and racial profiling, as well as for the Sierra Club in Oregon. I've also spearheaded initiatives to help survivors of human trafficking, including job and skills trainings. I then found Gruenberg Law where I could finally put my passion for employee rights into practice. It's there where I developed a knack for women's rights cases.
My career was going well, and then I became pregnant. At the time, I declared that a baby would not derail my career. I used to say things like, "My child will adjust to my life, I will not adjust to my child's life." Ha! Of course, when I became a mother, everything changed. My priorities, my values, my service.
It turned out to be a good thing. I am a more compassionate, more loving, and a more patient person than I ever was. I am less judgmental, less selfish, and less rigid. I understand now that most people are just trying to do the best they can, just trying to get through the day with the limited energy they have. My baby brought out the best version of myself, but the transition to motherhood was hard and not without challenges. I understand what delusional exhaustion can do to your quality of work.
I understand how excruciating it feels to have to peel a sobbing baby off you because you are on a deadline and you keep leaving. I understand how frustrating it is that none of the time in your day is yours. I understand it all, because I’ve been through it and I’m still going through it.
It's so important that we feel safe and comfortable at our jobs. After all, where we spend most of our time, often more time than we do with our families. Our work is how we put food on the table and how we pay for preschool and a pile of diapers the size of Mount Whitney (people usually say Mount Rushmore, but I think Rushmore only covers the newborn stage). If things aren’t right at work, everything else suffers, including our families. It’s a scary place when you don’t feel supported at your job.
But let's not feel sorry for ourselves, because do have power to create a better reality for our families. We can be proactive to make sure our rights are being respected at work. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone is entitled to a safe and fair place to work, and that all we need is the employers’ willingness to show dignity to their employees. After all, we’re human beings, and not measures of production. When you are loyal to your employer and you are a respectful worker, you should expect loyalty and respect in return.
Look, our bodies have this incredible ability to create life, yet we’re expected to keep working like it’s not even happening. That’s not reasonable. So let’s use your rights to keep you and your baby safe, healthy, and happy.
In my cases, I see how sexism permeates all levels of a workplace and all industries, and it reminds me of when I was a young girl and I felt so powerless. I'm not powerless anymore. I've mastered the skill of using the law to keep businesses accountable.
And let me tell you, this power is a force. I can assure you that there are few things businesses fear more than lawyers who represent employees. I love what I do. I love using the law as a tool to ensure that the time mothers need to heal and to bond with their newborns is sacred and protected, and to enforce California laws put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of parents and babies.
No one should choose between family or career. All parents deserve dignity and fairness when they go through the difficult and demanding journey of raising children. My motto is – “people over profit and babies over the bottom line, no exceptions.”
Ready to get started? Contact me here to set up a consultation.