Female empowerment, what does that phrase mean to you? For me, it’s about empowering women around a variety of issues. There is an organization called Empowerwomen, whose mission really resonates with me. It states, “We are dedicated to empowering women to achieve their full economic potential by inspiring both women and men to become advocates, change-makers and leaders in their community. We equip them with resources, opportunities and a global platform that facilitates networking, learning and, sharing of experiences.”
Money Messages and Role Models
So why am I writing a blog about this for Birchwood? Because empowering women can be tied closely to money! We all start with our own money stories that develop over time based on experiences. These stories sometimes can create Financial Gremlins or messages about money that can inform their financial decisions and potentially cause anxiety. For women, historically these stories may have limited our ambitions. What role models are there for financially independent and savvy women?
For baby boomer women, many of whom grew up without sports since Title IX didn’t happen until 1972, empowerment didn’t come from sports. Women’s liberation and the concept of equal pay became headline news in the 1960s and 1970s. And it is still in the headlines today – the 2019 women’s soccer team’s lawsuit about equal pay is a case in point.
For younger women, the message has been a bit different – you can have it all! But the reality of financial equality remains a pipe dream for many.
How You Can Empower Women
So we still have work to do for all women to reach their economic potential and to be inside all political structures and institutions. So what can those of us who are “successful” do to empower more women?
- Talk about money. Money can often be seen as a taboo subject, with the result being that we don’t share information and stories about how money works. Today blogs are attempting to change this like Refinery29’s Money Diaries, where they ask millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period.
Take the initiative to ask questions and learn more about your own money and be conscious of your own money decisions.
- Share your money. Think about your charitable giving and who and how you may support the causes you are passionate about. If you are involved in an organization or company that you think treats women well, tell others.
- Tell the women in your life that you care and want to support them. Think about ways you can mentor women in the workplace. For example, take and offer informational interviews to women entering your field, join organizations where you can meet and share your experiences.
- Help create strong independent girls who will know they are equal. Everyone can play a role, whether it’s your own daughter, niece, or you choose to volunteer your time with a nonprofit that works with youth.
- Provide equal pay for equal work. If you are the employer or in a position to influence, take a stand.
- Invest your money with companies that have good workplaces and that support women. I recently wrote an article about Investing in Women that talk about ways in which you can do so.
- Support women-owned businesses.
- Support women’s sports.
- Talk about money some more. Share information. Talk about how you manage your money and what works and doesn’t for you. We learn from our peers.
Some quotes for inspiration:
- “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” – Madeleine Albright
- “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher
- “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lord