It’s a fact. Women are more likely to discuss health issues than financial matters, but the reason why isn’t as obvious as you may think. Yes, women tend to be more open about personal stuff than men, but the reason they refrain from money talks is because they feel insecure about their “lack of financial knowledge and experience,” and don’t know “where to turn for guidance,” says a recent study. Let’s take a look at four factors that contribute to the financial insecurities that are unique to women in their careers.
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It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there for women trying to have it all. Juggling the hefty demands of a family is a feat in and of itself, and then throw in trying to manage a successful career (that pays 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, depending on the industry) and it becomes near impossible. However, women are “leaning in” more than ever before, despite said imbalances, and are making huge strides towards equality in and out of the workplace.
In fact, a Pew Research Center study found that younger generations of working women are experiencing much greater parity with men than ever before: “[A]mong workers ages 25 to 34, women’s hourly earnings were 93% those of men,” and “among all working men and women ages 16 and older, women’s hourly wages were 84% those of men.” That’s what you call progress and hope, people.
One day, women will earn equally as much as men do across the board, and it’s essential that they start becoming more comfortable and confident about their finances and investments. Let’s start by identifying four ways money affects women differently than men in their careers.
1. Gender Wage Gap
As discussed earlier, women earn less than men, but partly because women tend to take on lower paying jobs, rather than pursuing careers in higher-paying industries, like STEM. According to Go Girl Finance, “[W]omen generally have lower lifetime income than men from which to build up their retirement nest eggs,” and it’s estimated that “by age 65, women [especially wealthier ones] will have lost an average of $431,000 in lifetime earnings owing to the gender pay gap.” Does anyone else think that’s insane?
2. Gender Biases in the Workplace
Chances are, if someone were to tell you a story about a CEO without revealing his or her gender, you’d probably picture a male executive. There’s nothing wrong with that, other than the fact that it’s true. Sadly enough, women rarely ever come to mind when speaking of executives or leaders, because there aren’t very many. With so few females in top-level positions in the business world, working women have slim pickings for female role models in their careers. More women need to see that top-tier positions are a possibility in their futures rather than a rare occurrence.
3. Gender Biases in the Financial Sector
If you didn’t know already, the financial industry has a huge woman problem in that women are wildly underrepresented and gravely underpaid (compared to men), so it’s no surprise that women feel intimidated about seeking professional advice or employment in this sectors. If more women held financial advisory positions, then maybe – just maybe – women would feel more confident in furthering their financial knowledge and experience.
4. Family Matters
Women earn less than men, so it’s no surprise that they are also the ones more likely to forgo their careers for financial or other reasons to raise their children. Aside from the obvious reasons a mother would need or want to be with her newborn (e.g. breastfeeding), women are expected to be mothers first and put everything else on hold.
Going back to work post-baby is often a difficult decision for many working mothers, too, especially when you consider the daunting task of managing a home and a career. Studies show that women make up nearly half of the workforce, but still take care of the same amount of household responsibilities than their mothers and grandmothers (who stayed home full-time). Giving up a paycheck to stay home with the kids seems like a better option than trying to juggle a career and a family, when it’s all said and done.
The annoyance surrounding gender disparities that exist for women in the working world isn’t that everyone keeps blabbing about it, it’s that it still exists – because isn’t waiting until 2058 a ridiculous amount of time to see the gender pay gap close once and for all? Let’s make it happen in this lifetime.
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