Cosmopolitan | What TH is a ‘Financial Feminist’ and how can we become one
By: Jessica Robinson – author of Financial Feminism, A Woman’s Guide to Investing for a Sustainable Future
Author Jessica Robinson shares the Cosmo-approved step-by-step guide to sustainable investing for women
Talking about women and money can sometimes feel like an uncomfortable conversation. It’s emotive, it can be misleading, and it certainly touches on some issues we’d rather avoid discussing. But that is the last thing you should do – money is an important topic to be engaged with.
The bottom line is that women face a lot of gaps when it comes to money. The gender pay gap receives a great deal of attention, and rightly so. Worldwide, women still make only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, creating a lifetime of income inequality. But it’s not just about what we get paid. Women face other gaps too – a savings gap, a pension gap, even a debt gap.
Against that challenging backdrop, there are a few other factors holding women back. Turns out confidence can be an issue. You may be really confident in one part of your life, but it doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same about your finances. When it comes to matters of money, women often don’t feel as confident as men, even if they’re very competent.
The financial industry does not help either. Many women report feeling patronized or spoken down to when discussing their finances with a financial advisor, the majority of whom are men. Research also highlights that the way we speak to women about money differs, with the media tending to speak to men as if they’re savvy financiers, whereas women are defined as excessive spenders and less productive.
What can we do about it? This is where financial feminism comes into play – the belief in the financial equality of women. But it is more than just that – financial feminism also requires that we talk, act and push for change. Here are a few actions we can start taking today:
- View your financial health in the same way you view self-care. Take the time to look after yourself, all aspects of yourself. Develop good habits when it comes to money – setting financial goals that are meaningful, creating a budget and using it to guide your spending, getting more educated.
- Don’t just save, start investing. There is a difference between saving and investing. Saving gives you a certain amount of freedom and autonomy – for example, quitting your job while you study to support a career change. Investing gives you the ability to start owning your financial future. It’s all about putting money into stocks, shares, property or some other kind of commercial venture with the intention of earning a profit. It’s important for your long-term financial health.
- Talk about money so that it is no longer considered a taboo, with friends, family, partners. The more that we put the issues on the table, the easier it becomes to solve. We also have evidence that women value conferring with peers and money matters are no different. Find your sisterhood and leverage this support network.
- Money, and our investing decisions, can also be a powerful lever for change. Have you ever heard about sustainable investing? This is all about investing in companies and sectors that are aligned with your values and beliefs, thinking about the kind of change you want to see happen in the world and then putting your money where your mouth it. For example, if you are worried about environmental issues or climate change, you might seek out investment products that focus on renewable energy or clean tech.
Now is the time to take control, now is the time to be a financial feminist!
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON COSMOPOLITAN MIDDLE EAST AND REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION.