Here are 5 common responses women get when they want to talk about finances and why they’re wrong:
- “Why do you need to care about money? Your husband can give you money.”
The above statement is particularly annoying because not only does it assume that every woman will be married, it assumes that she will give up her right to money to her husband. The point is, married or unmarried, a woman deserves an equal participation in finance-related decisions. Many women, in fact, run their households and often they’re the ones putting away money for a rainy day. Women, therefore, very much need to care about money.
- “Everyone knows women spend too much money on frivolous things.”
There is a particular stereotype of women as unrepentant shopaholics who spend money on buying sprees. This stereotype is harmful towards women because it once again places them as being ‘untrustworthy’ with money, which simply isn’t true. In fact, there is research that shows that men can be equally addicted to shopping as women and it’s our gendered thinking that makes us think of women as the ‘shoppers’.
- “Ugh, money money money, it’s all that women want to talk about. Why don’t you talk about less material things?”
If women aren’t being accused of spending money too freely, they’re accused of being too ‘obsessed’ with money. This gives birth to harmful ideas, such as the fact that a woman ‘only wants a man for his money’ and ‘being rich will get you the girls’. These are blatantly harmful ideas which not only demean women but force upon them an identity as being obsessed with ‘material goods’ (clothes, jewellery, money etc). All this results in women ultimately being left out of conversations about important financial matters, matters that might even include their own finances.
- “Are you sure you can do this? Women and money you know… you might mess it up.”
Oh yeah, women are so bad at saving. Women are so bad at understanding stuff. Women would totally not understand difficult things like ‘investments’. Sadly, this sort of thinking has a historical precedent, right from the Greeks. In fact, a large reason women may have money problems is because of the significant gender pay gap which still exist in most societies.
- “Money? But that involves numbers. Everyone knows women can’t do math!”
Why does this myth even exist? Why? Not taking into account brilliant mathematicians like Shakuntala Devi, there’s no research proving that women are bad at math. While there is research that proves that this myth is so damaging that 60% of girls believe they can’t do math and this has actively created a gender gap in STEM.
So our lesson for today is… myths suck! And women should be allowed to have an equal and fair participation in talking about finances and more, because it’s their right. It’s time to let #GirlsTalkMoney.