We have to change the way we speak about women and money. “Mum, I am a rich man,” said the true icon Cher. There are many things wrong in the way we talk about money and women. A study from Starling Bank has analysed how different male and female-centric media outlets write about money and discovered some problematic differences.
Women are often being portrayed as ‘excessive spenders’ – that have no idea about money (we all watched Bridget Jones and Confessions of a Shopaholic). Men on the other hand are being encouraged to spend money with articles using words like “invest” to achieve “power”. In fact, more men than women in Australia believe that money is just a means to buy things (women 52%, men 59%). The idea that women spend all their money on shoes and bags still seems to be an established stereotype, although more men (34%) than women (29%) say that they financially live for today. Let’s be honest, we all have that one friend/boyfriend/husband that we need to hold back so that they do not make an outrageous purchase as soon as they get paid.
How do Women Learn about Money?
Ironically, women are highly underrepresented in financial systems, moreover, the pay gap is the highest among financial services. But the reason why women tend to know less about finances is not because women are less capable at managing their finances, it is because women are getting told that finances are ‘for men to handle’ and also further compounded and entrenched by the portrayal of women in popular culture, be it films, books or television. It is important to educate and speak to women about finances in the same way we do with men and that we keep fighting against gender inequality.
The “Women Understanding Money” report by the Australian Government was created to help women understand how to organize, spend and save money better – but does that in such a way that is everything else than encouraging! The topic is very important, and surely their intentions were good, but the report delivers the helpful information in such a patronizing way that the messages could easily be lost.
What You Can Do:
Luckily, there are different ways for women to learn more about money and spending. An easy and fun way to learn more about finances are podcasts like ‘Secrets of Wealthy Women’, ‘Her Dinero Matters’ or the ‘Girlboss Radio.’ You should also look out for female networks about finances like ‘Vestpod’ or ‘SmartPurse’ that offer workshops and a community to learn with others. Just keep an eye out, there are many platforms and networks created by women, for women!
It is also time to change the way we talk about women and money – you don’t have to help women understand money. It’s the same way we talk about helping women “find their voice” – women already have a voice, they don’t need help to find it – they just need to be encouraged to use it.