Pay inequity is horrible and inexcusable, but I’m pretty tired of hearing about it. And while there are some gender stereotypes that we can laugh at when it comes to money (“I earn it and she spends it” is one I could easily do without, though), trying to type people and put them into a box to suit our desire to understand the world is just dumb.
But the topic keeps on hitting me over the head!
My darling husband sent me a newsletter from Fidelity investments. It’s got lots of good information in it. The one topic he thought I should blog about: Caring for elderly parents & the financial ramifications for women (who do most of the caring). Here’s the article. I started reading it with squinted eyes (not because I left my glasses at the office but because I’m so tired of this topic) but it actually offered some pretty good advice, different advice, or maybe the same advice repackaged into something that seems new.
The problem I have with women-related finance issues is “What, exactly, are our choices?” I’m not up for gender change surgery, I love my father (who thankfully doesn’t need much help), I love caring for my own family (usually) and lastly I love my work.
“Lastly” being the operative point.
This is what we women do and what we’re expected to do and what we’ll always do: Put our work (and income) last and put our families first. Maybe because women tend to be more right-brained. I talked about left-right brain issues in my TEDx Buffalo Women talk December 2012:
Oh sure, some have tried delegating caring responsibilities to others to remain active in their work, but they’re judged for it and women HATE to be judged negatively. Men don’t appear to care so much, in general (there I go, putting genders in boxes!) They tend to stay focused on the task at hand (which is why they cannot find things).
I remember reading an article in More magazine about the woman who created Bare Minerals make up. Her husband was the stay-at-home Dad and their teenage son subsequently contacted Dad for his day-to-day needs and emotional support. I read the article and thought to myself, “I’d never do that.” Not that I think she is wrong for making that choice, it just would not be the right choice for me. There is a difference, but it’s subtle.
The best way to close the wage gap is to be your own best advocate: do research on a position you’re looking to acquire, check the salary range based on your skills and experience, and then ask for that rate of pay. But do you know why most women don’t do this? Because they don’t want to be judged negatively (as a greedy and/or demanding you-know-what).
But if you put your family first, doesn’t it make sense to earn the most money to support your family?
My brother-in-law sent me an article about the 6 Traits That Make Women Amazing Investors. The author suggests that women are uniquely gifted for certain aspects of investing and they should become more involved with the investing part of finance–and I quite agree–but I sense the slippery slope of “you’re good at this so you should handle it” start to creep in and, really, how much more can any one of us DO?
A client said an interesting thing about the women’s right’s movement: “We wanted it all, and the problem is we got it all.”
A friend of mine runs an elderly care service called Super Daughter Services, her tag line is: The kinds of things a daughter takes care of for her parents if she has the time, proximity and know-how.
I think she has really hit on something: a little help is just what we need.
Moreover, I think women need a permission slip to either delegate some or all of these caring tasks or a break from being beaten over the head with the financial consequences because, honestly, we don’t need ONE MORE THING to handle.