Women face more barriers than men in almost all aspects of our day-to-day lives. And since money makes the world go round, it’s no surprise that financial stress affects up to 80% of women, according to a Fidelity poll. That’s two thirds more than the number of financially stressed women the poll reported just last fall!
That’s why we’ve compiled this short list to help you navigate around the gender barriers in the world of finance, and show you how to power through them!
Savings and Investments
It all starts at home! Thanks to age-old stereotypes, parents are more likely to save up for their sons’ college education. Consequently, more women end up entering the workforce with debt from student loans.
And thanks to the gender pay gap, women save less than men in the long run. This disparity in savings has only widened further during the pandemic, as women, especially those among the unemployed, have to dip into their already meager savings to pay for daily necessities.
Considering this, you may think of turning to investments to make money. But, even if they outperform men, women make investments that yield substantially smaller returns. Since women — and especially women of color — earn less, they can’t afford to invest as much money as their male counterparts do.
If you’ve ever considered raising funds for your own startup, you’ve probably had to think about the glaring gender disparity that affects it. While the amount of funds going to companies with women founders has barely changed since 2012, those venturing into fintech have it worse: They’ve only raised 1% of their funding goals in the past decade. But it doesn’t stop there.
Generally, women entrepreneurs have a harder time starting out. This is because even financial metrics that are dependent on algorithms, such as credit scores, have a gender bias. A guide to what affects credit scores by Petal Card lists some key factors that are taken into consideration including payment history, credit utilization, credit age, and credit mix and inquiries. In addition, it can hurt our credit score just by being women. Since we earn less, we spend a larger proportion of our salary than men do, and our credit score — which determines access to funding, loans, and even homes — is affected as a result.
Finally, the gender pay gap reaches all the way to your retirement. On average women live longer than men, thus increasing the risk of outliving their retirement funds. This compounds with the fact that, although women contribute more to their pension plans, the larger salaries paid to men mean that they are able to contribute more regardless.
What Can You Do to Feel Less Financially Stressed?
We may have worried you by expounding on the causes of financial stress, so here are some steps that you can take to feel more in control of your financial situation.
Become More Financially Literate
As we’ve previously covered here on Petite2Queen, even learning the basics of how money works can teach us how to make the most of our financial resources. Start using money trackers, learn to negotiate aggressively to get the deals you want, and contact professionals if you prefer to have their help.
Talk to Someone About Feeling Financially Stressed
The person you choose doesn’t need to offer you any advice — they just need to listen. Of course, any financial insight they give is an added bonus, but the purpose of this exercise is for you to take that mental load off your shoulders by knowing you don’t have to go through your problems alone.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Finally, give yourself a break! These tips from Forbes can help you to stop stressing over what you can’t control, and focus your energies on what you can do. You’re doing the best you can given your circumstances. And now that you know about the many ways your gender can impede you, you can only go forward from here on out!
April Coulter is a freelance blogger who loves to write about feminism to boost women empowerment. During her free time, she loves practicing meditation, going on hikes, and ploughing through her to-read list.