I believe wealth equality is at the heart of gender equality. Wealth provides the holder with:
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 referring to 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 of us born into privilege and / or wealth 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 to save more than men for retirement. (Though partially 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) we give 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.
Join me in helping more women get comfortable talking about money. I’d love to hear how you’re improving your own financial footing, or supporting women in your life as they build wealth.
This post also appeared on the Top Money Hacks blog - which is focused on simplifying the complicated world of personal finance. Top Money Hacks shares short, practical tips for busy people.