Money is an issue. At least, if you’re a woman it should be. There’s the pay gap, the investing gap and the confidence gap, to name a few, and while there are myriad factors at play, gender inequity when it comes to finances is a big one. But wait—is being a financial feminist different from being a straight-up feminist?
Nope. “A feminist is someone who believes in equality. A ‘financial feminist’ is just about believing in financial equality of women,” says Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, a money coach in New York City and founder of the personal finance advice site The Fiscal Femme. So why the label?
Well, it’s about driving a specific conversation: Study after study shows that for women, talking about money can be a tough ask; throughout history, the subject has been considered “impolite,” and that’s been particularly costly for women. “Money is the tool we can use to have and experience what we want in life,” Feinstein Gerstley adds. “It provides power and freedom in our choices, careers, families and really everything.”
But because the list of feminist issues to be discussed on the reg is a long one, often driven by cultural and political events—access to healthcare, intersectionality, reproductive rights, body image issues, and rape culture, to name just a few—financial matters tend to be more of a slow burn. And so financial feminism is about making money a tent-pole topic for women, diving headlong into investing, spending, saving, negotiating.
Want in on how to take control of your financial future? We’ve got you.
Whether you’re rolling in serious dough, have major credit card debt, or are straight-up confused about how to start saving—own it. Conversations about menstrual cups can get real really quick when you’re hanging out with friends; why don’t we allow ourselves the same sense of freedom when it comes to talking about our money (or lack thereof)?
We love wellness—give us all the healing crystals, green juices and meditation mantras. But taking a little time out to focus on your finances is just as critical as hitting up a yoga session. Download a budgeting app, get yourself a financial advisor, dedicate a weekly hour to investing, focus on spending your money with companies and on products that align with your values—it can be whatever you want, but let it be something. Taking ownership of this important aspect of your life will have a lot of mental and emotional benefits.
Advocating for yourself when it comes to money can feel vulnerable, scary, and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. If you’re earning less than your male co-worker, talk about it. If you notice there’s a “pink tax” on your female products, talk about it. If every retirement goal seems male focused, talk about it. If you’re talking about the future with your partner and he or she assumes you’ll make career sacrifices when it’s time to start a family, talk about it.
Got that money on your mind? Good. Now get out there and start talking up that cash.