We asked a few financial bloggers about the role of personal finance in the feminist movement. Here are some of their responses:
Blogger: Femme Frugality
There is real poverty in this country – especially among women. There is a real gender wage gap in this country -especially for women of color. There is a serious lack of retirement savings among our populace – especially women, who are scantily marketed to in the investment industry.
When women’s finances suffer, entire families’ finances suffer, damaging both men and women, girls and boys. Women’s issues aren’t just women’s issues -everyone should be concerned about ensuring women are treated equally. In a culture where we unfortunately kneel at the altar of the almighty dollar, acknowledging that these financial problems are real and then addressing them is paramount to empowering the women in our everyday lives: our mothers, sisters, daughters, partners and friends.
Blogger: She’s on the Money at Mozo
I think what it comes down to is, we aren’t equal unless we’re economically equal. When you’re suffering financially, it can set you back in every other aspect of life as well. And while the days of being owned by your dad until he sells you to your husband are gone (and good riddance) women are still playing catch up in a lot of ways.
For instance, research from a while back showed that nearly half of single women in Australia think they’d have trouble getting back on track after a financial emergency – not necessarily because they’re paid less, but simply because they lack the financial knowledge to do it.
Getting a handle on your personal finances – whether that’s understanding how to budget properly, being confident in choosing the right products or negotiating your way to a higher salary – puts you in a position where you can live independently. Who needs the patriarchy when you’ve got a big fat bank account?
Blogger: Akaisha from Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
Money is gender neutral, and it doesn’t care who has it and who doesn’t. It’s not like money goes to some people and not to other people for some moral reason, because of a person’s gender, or because one person is more deserving over another.
I happen to be female, but I’m much more supportive of an advancement of people than simply someone based on their sexual chromosomes. All of us are oppressed in one form or another.
I want to bolster all groups and everyone in learning how to manage their money and create more.
To me, becoming financially independent is one of the best things a person can do for themselves and for the world.
When you are no longer held hostage to debt, to a paycheck, to a job you dislike, to a commute that takes too many productive hours out of your day – or for that matter, to a relationship that you no longer want to be in but you are stuck in due to financial pressure – you now have the freedom and ability to give back to your community.
You can learn anything you might choose, travel, volunteer, mentor, invent a humanity-supporting product, rescue animals, play music for the elderly in assisted living homes, teach English as a second language for free, help provide clean drinking water to villages around the world, meet people outside your normal social circle and grab hold of all sorts of new opportunities.
I mean, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of avenues that you can pursue which are beneficial to yourself and the global community. When you are not cemented into a situation where you are simply paying off bills, your life opens up.
I want this for everyone, not just a certain group.
Now to get back to what I think was the crux of your question: How can gaining control of one’s personal finances help women to move forward? What role does that play?
My answer is that knowledge of how money works is huge in setting yourself free to live the life you want.
Women today can pursue any career they want, and are making salaries undreamed of in previous generations.
But if a woman doesn’t know the language of finance, about how compounding interest can multiply her money exponentially over time, or how to track her spending, she will always be at a disadvantage, or vulnerable to bad deals and scams. If she does not learn about these things on her own and instead, chooses for her partner to manage all things financial, then she will tend to be frightened and confused about money.
It would be my advice to focus on a financial plan of tracking current consumption, saving as much of her paycheck as she can (and then save a bit more) investing wisely according to her risk tolerance, and staying out of debt.
I would also recommend reading my article: What Every Woman Needs to Know about Retirement. This will help clarify some spending choices she might face on her road to financial independence.
And one last piece of advice. You cannot be a victim and a warrior at the same time. Your future literally depends on the choice you make regarding this approach to life.
Thank you, ladies, for your refreshing and insightful responses.