Today we feature an opinion piece from Feminist Financier on the topic of feminism and personal finance.
I believe wealth equality is at the heart of gender equality. Wealth provides the holder with:
- Options, and
Security can include modest expenses, like the ability to pay for an unexpected car repair with ease, or more life-changing costs like hiring an excellent lawyer to secure a divorce.
Options created by wealth similarly range, from taking weeks of unpaid leave following the birth of a child, to walking away from a sexist, toxic workplace knowing you don’t have to worry about paying your bills.
Power provided by wealth isn’t power over others, but the power to pursue the life you want. This can include taking a vacation to Costa Rica to recharge your batteries, or self-funding your startup in early stages.
These benefits have been enjoyed by straight, white, able-bodied men throughout history. Those born into the upper classes have had a particular leg up, to put it lightly.
Today, the wage gap across genders still persists, and is particularly punishing for women of color, particularly Hispanic women. Women that identify as LGBTQA make less than their straight peers and trans women face significant earnings gaps.
We also face an investing gap, as women keep more of our money in cash than our male counterparts.
The wage and investing differences factors compound our retirement gap, where women have often saved less than men. Frustratingly, we will need more than men in retirement. (Though for a good reason – we tend to live longer.)
This is why I see it as my mission to help women build wealth. We are in a more powerful position when we can leave a relationship without fear of finding affordable, safe housing. When we can stand up to everyday sexism at work without fear of going broke if we lose our job in retaliation. When we can make the choices many men have been making for eons, to follow their passion, without having to beg for pocketbook money to do so.
And, for those of us lucky enough to have created wealth, I believe it is our responsibility to send the elevator back down. By donating to nonprofit organizations supporting women and girls, providing career advice and mentorship, fighting back against the patriarchy, and sharing our experiences (failures and successes) to enable more women a seat at the table.
Finally, this responsibility is shared by men. Amazing male allies can play a tremendous role in supporting wealth, and therefore gender, equality.
Catch Miss Feminist Financier working towards economic equality of the sexes at her blog!