Let’s talk about gender and money

Over time, there is an entrenched belief that women are not good managers of money; this belief may not be unfounded as many women exhibit traits that present women as frivolous individuals by nature. However, the truth is also that more people are beginning to realise that women are generally good managers in different spheres. Indeed, this is why many have continued to advocate as priority, financial independence for women.

There is indeed a need to look at the relationship between gender and money because there is a link in the way we are made or our temperament goes a long way in how we see money and our approach to it. But it is also an incontrovertible fact that gender is not an innate set of behaviours; while there are some traits found generally in specific gender, most attributes are learned through environmental and natural factors like culture, family, education, religious belief or societal norms.

Generally, the society places different expectations on men and women; this not only shapes their behaviours but also their beliefs about things in a huge way and notably, finances and belief about money are not exempted from this influence. It enshrines absolute gender stereotypes that can affect how people interact with money. And while women’s roles in society have shifted in the society, societal expectations still play a part in women’s approach to money and biased perceptions of gender roles are still strong in today’s society.

Due to the patriarchal culture of today’s society, women are expected to know that men are the breadwinners in the family and solely responsible for finances. Many expect a woman not to be more financially buoyant than their male partners and when a woman appears richer, she is expected to give up her finances to the husband as a sign of submission based on societal norms. This further creates the impression that women cannot manage money.

This belief is also responsible for the overt pay gap between genders because women are naturally steered towards what is seen as industries and profession for women which usually come with lower pay packages  in addition to the fact that they are expected to function in other areas of unpaid household chores which gulps a huge part of  productive hours.

Although there are now more women in the workforce than before, majority of unpaid chores for the family are still carried out by women. Time spent out of the workforce to undertake household chores or work as caregiver for the family can have significant impact on career progression for women and leads to poorer finances. This creates the impression that the male counterparts can manage money better, overlooking the fact that they have more hours and are not involved in every little aspects of household care which also eats into women’s finances.

There are many underlying issues that influence women’s relationship with money that many fail to understand. And these have contributed to the belief that women do not know how to manage money. Despite the fact that women seem not to have a hold on money management according to general belief, it is indeed given that how women think about money has changed and continues to evolve. This is obvious in the way more women are changing the unwritten rule; many women are not willing to quit their job no matter how much money their partner makes unlike before. More women now associate money with independence and security and are unwilling to be dependent on others.

Obviously, more women are now concerned with their financial future and have ceased to be frivolous about management of their money no matter how small. Women’s financial situation is different now and many have begun to see women as financial gatekeepers who do not spend just because money is available especially in an era where more single women are emerging either by accident or circumstance.

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