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20 Percent Counts — Here’s Why The Gender Gap Is Important


edited by Keemia Fera

Here's Why The Gender Gap Is Important

You know here at Style Salute, we’re all about the equality and the positive power of women. That said, we recognize that any way you look at it, money is power.  Want to start your own business? Get an advanced degree? Go on an adventure around the world?  None of this is possible if we aren’t in control of our finances.

But, like it or not, historically, financial matters have been labeled a “man’s job”.  As the so-called “head of the household”, men considered themselves experts when it comes to money, while women were seen as being  “bad at math” and “damsel in distress — therefore, not able to understand it. Unfortunately, this also falls back on the false stereotypes of women as the “irrational “and “emotional” gender.  But, we’ve had enough. For too long — and even today — the narrative around women and money — has been wrong. So, you see, money is a feminist issue, and the way it affects women financially is multi-pronged.

For starters,  it keeps us in bad relationships,  has us working more, and it negatively impacts career advancement—even though it shouldn’t.  “It’s a story that repeats itself, again and again, even today we tend to give that power up in a relationship when we can only imagine a happy future. Being in financial control is about playing offense. And it’s about playing defense. Money is power, and knowledge about money is power,” says Sallie Krawcheck, a woman who successfully penetrated the ranks of Wall Street, becoming one of its most powerful players, is offering a shoutout for women in the form of a new digital investment platform for women.

This fight isn’t over yet.

We need to understand what we’re dealing with and learn how to budget, save, and invest in our futures.  Her company Ellevest helps women like us prioritize our financial goals and make more money.

Let’s lay out the facts of this looming gender gap that’s holding us back from reaching our full financial potential.

It pains me to say, but women are paid 20 percent less than their male counterparts (you read that right) for performing the same job, according to the Institute For Women’s Policy Research. That is, for every dollar earned by a man working full-time, year-round, a woman working full-time, year-round earns $0.76.

Sadly, women of color fare even worse.  Much of it has been “math is scary and it makes me feel emotional and my friend lost her job, so what if I lose mine too? But if I give up my one latte a week, I can be a millionaire” syndrome. In addition, a key means to building our wealth — investing — hasn’t felt accessible to us, because let’s be honest all those bankers are playing a “man’s game.” The high account minimums (easier for the guys to reach, given the gender pay gap), the treatment of investing as some type of competitive sport, the over-complicated communication of investing issues — if these didn’t say “investing isn’t for you”, then the ultra-masculine bull brand symbol of Wall Street certainly has.

Yet, the future appears slightly brighter for the upcoming generation of females. More and more millennial women are attending college and earning a degree that will promote them as successful businesswomen, entrepreneurs, and leaders. The prediction is that females will have their chance to rule the world when young women’s wages overtake men’s by 2020. What else helps is the fact that while our debt may be greater, we have a better credit score than males, which is a huge advantage when applying for future loans or a prepaid debit card. Additionally, women today show more monetary responsibility, proving that we are capable of wisely budgeting, saving, and investing.

It’s not okay that our male counterpart will spend less of his life at his desk, and make more money. Earning 20% less in return for our hard work makes it appear like, well, we are second string. And being second means less wealth and resources for a well-deserved secure future. “I promise you: It’s not us, it’s them. We’ve been held back from engaging financially — and it costs us, big-time,” says Krawcheck.

So, how can we create balance?

Sallie Krawcheck keeps us encouraged with her advice that, “There are plenty of unseen barriers, but as far as what you can control, it comes down to money. I call investing “the best career advice women aren’t getting”— because giving yourself the opportunity to earn higher returns through investing means we can have greater career freedom.” Choosing to invest with Ellevest is just one more way to decrease the 20% gender gap, and ease your monetary anxiety.

And feel free to start small — Ellevest has no minimum balance, and your personalized financial plan is their gift to you whether you invest with them or not.

So, how about it ladies? Would you rather be polite and damsel-like or equal? We think we know the answer. If you do anything today to help your future, let it be this: sign up for a free personalized financial plan today.

Want to wear equality on your sleeve?  Shop one of our favorite tops that Sophia Bush famously wore, “You owe me 21 cents” here.

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BuzzTshirt You Owe Me 21 Cents T-shirt ($18.99)