We talked to 200 Asian women about their work and salary — here’s what we found

Not only are Asian women the least likely to be promoted to leadership positions, but we make only 85 cents for every dollar that white men earn. When you dig further into the data, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander women make, on average, the least — as low as 38 cents for every dollar that white men earn — causing them to face some of the highest wage gaps compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

We also have to deal with the model minority myth, infantilization, racism, and sexism at our jobs. It’s called the bamboo glass ceiling (yeah, we cringe at the name too), and the more you read about it, the harder it is not to see how these stereotypes and generalizations about Asian women affect our pay, job opportunities, and overall career.

Here’s what else you should know:

As the results started to roll in, we also came to realize that there were some questions that we could’ve written to be more specific. It’s important to note our question about whether one holds a full-time or part-time job could be interpreted differently by surveyors who feel they are full-time or part-time freelancers and contractors. We also had non-profit as an industry option, when non-profit can span many different industries. Because of that, we’re not including an industry breakdown in our data until our updated survey launches.

To start talking about these issues and encourage transparency about work and pay within our community, we surveyed over 200+ Asian women including femmes, queers, womxn, transgenders, and gender non-binaries. Those surveyed were mainly between the ages of 18 to 34 years old, with less than 10% being 35 to 55 years old or older. Racial and ethnic identities ranged from mainly Chinese, Multi-ethnic, Korean, Filipino, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese with only 6% who identified as Indian, Japanese, Hmong, Mien, Pakistani, or Thai. Job titles varied anywhere from office managers, production designers, and software engineers, to name a few, with a majority surveyed working in tech, marketing, art and design, and healthcare.

careerCassandra Lam
A Letter to Our Community: Crowdfund & Summit Update

To our community,

Thank you so much for supporting our crowdfund campaign over the past month! Together, we raised $26,000+ and we couldn’t have done it without you. Every contribution and social media share brought us one step closer towards our goal of creating a historical and first-of-its-kind gathering for 500 Asian women creators.

We’d like to take a moment to acknowledge that we did not hit our goal of crowdfunding $75,000 within 30 days. While it was a bit disheartening, it wasn’t a surprise. Keep scrolling to read some of our reflections.

But before we get into it, let us be clear: The Cosmos Summit is 100% happening!

Taking a Leap of Faith

When we crunched the numbers on producing an event of this size, we knew it was going to be expensive and far from easy. We were met with a choice. Do we scale down to stay “safe” or do what it takes to actualize our bold vision?

Many terrifying things came up for us in the process: imposter syndrome, feelings of unworthiness, fear that no one would care, and anxiety to name a few! On top of that, we knew that experiences focused on Asian women are still a relatively new concept - not just for our community, but for the world. Yet nothing could shake the gnawing belief that it’s about damn time for SOMEBODY to create an experience that celebrates Asian women.

Moving Forward

We remain committed to and clear on who we’re here for: YOU. In full transparency, here’s our path forward:

When and where is the Summit happening?:
The Summit is coming Sunday 8/25 to Brooklyn! More details will be shared in the coming months.

How are you raising the remaining $50K?:
Most conferences/summits are funded by sponsorships. But rather than guessing which brands you’ll want to meet, we want to collaborate with you! Can you tell us which brands you’d most want to engage with at the Summit by emailing hello@jointhecosmos.com?

I want my friends to come to Summit with me! How can they get tickets?
We’ve decided to keep our crowdfund campaign page open until April 14. This is the last chance to get GA / VIP Summit tix at the lowest available prices. Share this link with your closest pals and spread the word!

We chose, with deep intention, to crowdfund before seeking outside investment for two reasons:

  1. The reality that women of color receive less than 0.2% of venture capital funding

  2. A community-driven funding model best aligns with our desire to be held accountable to delivering value

When you’re in the business of creating something that’s never been done before to empower an underserved group of people, you’re going to face a unique set of challenges that will require every ounce of creativity, grit, and determination that you’ve got.

We don't view the crowdfund as a failure because you gotta shoot your shot, right? But we're realistic about what it takes to charge ahead.

Thank you for supporting us on this journey in all the ways you already have. Together, we are co-creating a world where Asian women everywhere can flourish and thrive.

To the stars,
Cassandra Lam & Karen Mok
Cofounders of The Cosmos

CommunityCassandra Lam