The proverbial glass ceiling is not constructed of glass, but of pervasive bias and prejudice against women held by both men and women worldwide.
Money, fame and wealth are not perceived as feminine. So if you have it, a great part of society believes a male must have rubbed it on you in cash or in body fluid. It double hurts because women are the notorious peddlers of this narrative.
Precisely 91 per cent of men and 86 per cent of women hold at least one clear bias against women according to The UNDP Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) which measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work, and education, and contains data from 75 countries, covering over 80 per cent of the world’s population.
According to the index, about half of the world’s men and women feel that men make better political leaders, and over 40 per cent feel that men make better business executives and that men have more rights to a job when jobs are scarce. 28 per cent think it is justified for a man to beat his wife. Now, that’s messed up!
Having money conversations and subsequently closing the women’s wealth gap is good for families, communities, and the economy.
There is definitely a need to normalise the conversation around money among women. So, here are seven ways in which women can normalise the conversation around money.
1. Halt the silence:
Authenticity and vulnerability are key here. Proactively talk about money and investment with your accountable friends.
If you have a partner, talk regularly to understand the financial strengths and challenges you have as a couple. Because the opposing laws of attraction mostly take their course and spenders mostly wound up with savers, you may have disagreements but learn to resolve them. Identify who is the saver and the spender. Make sure you are understood and your opinion is taken into consideration. Once you take your opinion on money matters seriously the world will follow.
2. Understand finance fundamentals:
A sure-fire way is understanding how to calculate your Net Worth. Familiarise yourself with financial terminology and words. Join communities like HerVest that help you understand the basics of good investment and make you aware of the risks inherent in your actions or inactions.HerVest has tons of insightful articles here.
3. Discuss money with your parents:
You are better off starting money conversations with your parents from a place of knowledge (refer to the previous point) otherwise an African mummy is going to reset you quickly as it should be. LOL. Discussing money with your parents gives you double scores.
First, it allows you to understand their attitudes towards money…where they have faltered and money lessons you can glean from their wins and failures.
Secondly, if the worst happens and a parent falls ill or dies, you can easily trace to get their assets as a lot of unknown assets largely wastes away or gets hard to get due to lack or poor wealth transfer habits.
Breaking this taboo with parents can be especially fraught with uncertainty. Your parents may probably feel like you’re prying but the uncomfortable conversation is still a better option than wasted assets. You can start with any of these — here are 10 money questions to ask your parents.
4. Have a peer group to exchange notes on investment:
Just like for everything else in your life, find your own tribe to talk about money matters. Find like-minded friends who can give you informed advice on money and investment. Financial conversations are fashionable. Wear more of it and finish it off with a lippie in your colour of choice. #winks
5. Talk to your children:
Talk to your kids, especially your daughters, about the importance of making independent financial decisions. Then walk the talk so that you set an example for her. Beware of the kind of money conversation that happens around children if they see their parents bickering about money, they are likely to follow suit. And if they see mutual respect and collaborations in money matters, they will grow up considering it as the norm.
6. Commit to milestone-based investments:
This will help you stay disciplined about your investments. It can be a mid to long-term investment for your second degree, business launch funds, kid’s education or a retirement plan. At HerVest, we have simplified savings like…simple interfaces, automated and accountable layered with best in class DCISS security and payment systems powered by Flutterwave
7. Stay woke. Stay aware:
Women of colour are doubly affected by the intersections of the racial and gender wealth gaps. They are less likely to have access to affordable financial products and services, business capital, and resources to save.
There are even more invisible barriers. The stereotypes, the systemic dreadlocks as we captured here about the limitations of smallholder women farmers in Nigeria who are actively embracing finance through credit, financial literacy and blended finance at HerVest. When conversations putting women down have reached your doorsteps. Kick it away.
May you become financially free, fierce, fundable and fun.
PS: Remember to follow us for more insightful articles and sign up at HerVest for more insightful articles straight into your inbox, great savings tools and opportunities to impact-invest in smallholder female farmers on the fringes of the financial scene in Africa.
Dara from HerVest.