Women Are Still Excluded From Finance

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Talking about money can be tough. From a young age, we learn that it’s rude to discuss finances, leading to a sense of shame around the topic. Historically, even when women didn’t work outside the home, they managed household budgets, skillfully stretching a single salary to cover all needs and save for emergencies.

Despite this history, women still feel left out of financial conversations today. A study by Wells Fargo and The Female Quotient, “Our Secret Numbers: Women, Men, and the Taboo Nature of Financial Health,” shows that men and women handle financial topics differently.

The study found that men are more comfortable discussing finances. For example, 66% of entry-level men felt comfortable talking about their financial health, while only 54% of entry-level women did. This gap persists at senior levels, with 70% of senior-level men comfortable compared to 57% of senior-level women. The same pattern exists for discussing debt.

Men also feel more confident in their financial abilities than women. Almost half of the women surveyed (49%) lacked confidence in managing their finances, compared to 35% of men. Moreover, 58% of women were unhappy with their financial situation, compared to 42% of men.

When people avoid talking about money, they miss out on valuable advice and support. Men’s comfort in discussing finances helps them gain insights and opportunities, while women’s hesitation keeps them from similar benefits.

These differences start from childhood. Boys are often encouraged to be assertive about money, while girls are taught to be cautious. In relationships, men usually take charge of financial decisions, while women see it as a shared task, making them feel less confident.

To fix this, we need to change how we talk about money:

  1. Teach Kids Early: Encourage boys and girls to discuss money openly and learn about finances.
  2. Support at Work: Companies should promote financial discussions through literacy programs, mentorship, and transparent salary talks.
  3. Personal Effort: Women should seek financial education, discuss salaries and investments openly, and challenge the idea that talking about money is impolite.
  4. Positive Media: Show women managing finances successfully in media to change perceptions and build confidence.

By making these changes, we can create an environment where everyone feels comfortable and confident discussing and managing money.

Re-reported from the article originally published in She the People.

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