Why Women Must Make Money a Priority

Today we feature an opinion piece from Feminst 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:

  • Security,
  • Options, and
  • Power.

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.

Women and money, importance of money for women, feminism and personal finance

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!

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6 thoughts on “Why Women Must Make Money a Priority

  1. Yep! We must protect ourselves and have the ability to protect others. Wealth is a lot of power. I used to work in the domestic violence arena, and the victims were almost always not in control of the money no matter what the couple earned. It was a tool used to control them. We must know how to use these tools for ourselves and not to harm.

    1. ZJ – could not agree more. A few years ago, I learned of a charitable effort – Purple Purse – part of Allstate’s Charitable Foundation – and they use a phrase to describe financial abuse that has always stuck with me: “The invisible weapon.” Thank you for the thoughts, Z!

  2. Thanks for this article and providing a link to the Feminist Financier!

    I think most women understand they must make money and savings for their future a priority, but with high rents and high cost of living and low wages many women live paycheck to paycheck and not even barely squeak by. Or they live with a man who is a spender instead of a saver.

    Knowing it and having the ability to put it into action can be miles apart.

    1. Cheryl, you couldn’t be more right on. I had the honor of attending a discussion on women and money a few weekends ago, and your point couldn’t have been more resonant in the room. We all “know” that this is an area of importance but real life (and to your point, low wages…and for women, the wage gap) requires a lot of us just to get through the daily grind.

    1. Thanks Joseph! It’s important for women to be financially independent as an individual, even if they’re financially independent as a couple. It starts with taking an interest in the financial situation and making joint decisions about assets and future planning so both parties are in control.

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