There is nothing more that I admire than a Costa Rican woman that is self sustainable and has made a life for herself without the help of a man; an independent, free thinking woman in this machismo society that tries to hold them back.
I reflecting back to what a life coach of mine had said to me once. He told me a story about a woman that lived next door to him that he was warned was “in the business of gringos.” She had used sex and her looks to make a pretty good life or herself. With her 2 kids from 2 different gringos she was netting about $2500 a month. She currently was living with a gringo that was paying was everything while she used the extra cash for clothes and other materialistic items, not for her kids.
While I am in no way saying this is every woman in Costa Rica, there a lot that see learning a little bit of English and having good looks as a way to finance their desires for a more material lifestyle. Do I actually hold this against them, not really? It is more a product of the society that Costa Rica has become through the “invasion” of the outside world.
Resorts like Los Suenos, million dollar houses, and other glimpses of luxurious lifestyles had left a taste of greed and desire in the mouths of many Costa Ricans.
Much like the United States, there is a huge advantage to having a rich family or connections. There is a bigger and bigger gap growing between those with and those without in Costa Rica and becoming extremely difficult for a person in the poor class in Costa Rica to make the jump into the rich ruling class.
One of the biggest reasons for this is the education system in Costa Rica. If you look at the leaders and ruling class many of them were educated in colleges and universities in the USA and around the world. Laura Chinchilla, Georgetown. Jose Maria Figueres, West Point and Harvard. I know these are specific examples but it holds true for may of the higher ups in the Costa Rican government.
Many Costa Ricans think that they are prepared on a global level for life by getting an education in the schooling system in Costa Rica, but most are far from that ability to freely think outside the box on a higher level. The Costa Rican government shows this daily. The National Stadium (The Chinese) and The Sewage Treatment Plant (Spain) are both projects that the Costa Rican government had to outsource to get done in a reasonable amount of time. The border trail, ICE, Amnet, road infrastructure, the Women’s World Cup and other government projects shows the true ability of Costa Rica on a global scale……all inefficient or complete failures.
What is the future of most female students after graduating from a university in Costa Rica? From a conversation I had this morning with a Costa Rican friend of mine, not much without an advanced degree which is not affordable to many. She had worked at HP in Costa Rica for a period of time as a project manager and made good money. They soon realized that it took 2 to 3 Costa Rica college graduates to do the job of 1 person in India. They have moved more jobs over there as well as cut the salaries in Costa Rica. Instead of $1000 to $1200 a month starting off that number has gone down to closer to $600 to $700. She is going back to school to get a advanced degree because with her college degree and near flawless English there are few opportunities that pay decent available. She also added that her ex boss with a college degree has worked over 10 years at an international company as the head of Human Resources and makes only $1700 a month. (Sorry unable to mention the name due to the fact that the Costa Rica libel law prohibits you telling the truth under threat of law suit.)
What are the options for a college graduate with no connections? They can become a teacher which in Costa Rica pays about $1000 a month after 12 or 13 years. They can work at HP for about $700 a month. They can start a career path in something like physical education for about $1000 a month after a while. They can continue their education or take CICSO or IT classes and hope that as a woman they are given the rightful chance they deserve, but in this society a lot of times the men will try to hold the women back.
The final option which many Costa Ricans take advantage of is working as a call center representative. In the USA this is considered a job for those without a high education (usually only high school required). In Costa Rica it requires English and in most cases a college diploma. They are some of the highest paying jobs in Costa Rica which is why you will see both expat gringos and Costa Ricans vying for these positions. Normally they start off at between $800 and $1000 a month.
All of these life paths require hard work, determination and the ability to take a punch and keep on going. Even with a job like this many stay living at home in order to save money. The cost of living in Costa Rica keeps going up and the salaries are not keeping up with those numbers. To live a pretty nice life in your own apartment or house in Costa Rica, you need about $2000 to $2500 coming in each month for the household. If you do not have this you will be living paycheck to paycheck and not putting much away for savings.
Many Costa Rican houses have been passed down through the years from generation to generation as the cost to buy land and build or to actually buy your own place in Costa Rica is next to impossible with the salaries being paid. A friend of mine who is a teacher had a lot that was passed down through the years in her family and got her own house built. After the mortgage and taxes taken out of her paycheck she makes about $300 a month. It what world is this enough to support a child and herself?
Why is nothing really changing in regards to this? Because the it does not effect the ruling rich class and helps them stay in power. As per the Costa Rican culture, if it does not effect them personally then the attitude in most cases is “Who cares?”.
It is quite easy for me to see why many Costa Rican woman take an easier path. Especially since 20% of Costa Rican women have a child by the time they are 19 and the guy that impregnated them does not provide financial support in many cases.
Do I understand why they continue in a life with a gringo they do not love? Yes
Do I approve of it? No