The people in power happen to be mostly male, and men dominate the realm of finance. And we most often hear the masculine perspective when it comes to what financial success looks like.
“How do women become leaders and decision makers in the world of money when all of the success paradigms look like a man-shaped box?”
Stereotypes and Assumptions
Women are often stereotyped as nurturers and caregivers. We are cast in roles as feminine or masculine at birth, given baby dolls or toy trucks, dressed in frills or sports gear, and conditioned to behave accordingly. But every human being is a unique individual. In the same way that everyone is at a different place on the financial continuum, we are all at our own place in the spectrum of human sexuality, behaviour, desire, and personality.
There are many assumptions around gender, power, and money. When a couple opens a joint account at the bank, the man’s name is often listed first by rote. When a man and a woman walk into a car dealership, the salesperson invariably addresses questions to the man. Realtors tell women about renovated kitchens while men hear about the heated garage or the furnace. It can make us feel powerless to be cast in a role that we don’t want to play. Women are making big money decisions, buying cars, and shunning classic female roles in relationships. We want to be recognized as power players in our own right.
Money Within Relationships
Think about dating. Who pays the bill for dinner on a first date? The server, almost without fail, sets the bill in front of the man. Why do we assume that the man is meant to pay? If the woman insists on treating, how does that affect the potential for a relationship and his feelings about her? Sophia Financial’s own Tracy Theemes’ gave a rousing TedX talk on this very subject. When the video went live, it only took a few hours to go viral, with tens of thousands of views and hundreds of comments.
Talking about money can be an exercise in vulnerability. It may make us feel insecure or unsuccessful. Add gender and power imbalance to the mix and we’re in for a wild ride. As you set out your money goals, keep in mind that you define what success looks like for yourself, and the best advice doesn’t necessarily come from a tall man in a dark blue suit.
“Women can define, create, and possess their own financial power, and it doesn’t have to be painted pink.”
Listen to Wise Money Talks Podcast, Episode 8, to hear Tracy and Kamal talk about the relationship between gender and money.