How you can prepare for the biggest shift in gender politics that’s going to change the world for women
Something is going on right now that is going to transform the lives of women and the world as we know it.
No, I’m not talking about climate change or war, although they are both big, global, complex issues for us all to solve.
What I’m talking about is shifting the dial on the gender inequality that’s baked into our systems and the very fabric of our society, that keeps women playing small, earning less and as a result, missing out on opportunities to advance their careers and lives at the same pace as men.
Despite the fact that more women have been graduating from university than men since the 1990s –
- Only 10.5% of ASX 200 leaders are women.
- Just 0.7% of all venture capital in Australia goes to 100% female-founded and led businesses.
- There is an ongoing and persistent wage gap currently sitting at around 13%.
- And women in Australia are still retiring with more than 30% less than their male peers – and it’s not all because of the time given to care-giving despite that being a strong narrative.
The system is broken, and despite concerted effort by many we barely move the dial year on year. Then all it takes is a pandemic, or an economic downturn and hard fought for gains are wiped out in a two steps forward and one step backward type dance that’s been going on for decades.
SO WHAT’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN?
It’s called the Great Wealth Transfer and it’s about to happen as Baby Boomers transfer wealth over the next 20 years to younger generations as part of their legacy.
According to a study by McKinsey & Company by 2030, American women are expected to control much of the $30 trillion in financial assets that baby boomers will possess – and there is a similar shift in the UK and also in Australia, although proportionately smaller.
Right now, half of all wealth is held by Baby Boomers.
Over the next 20 years, it will be inherited.
And women will control more money than they ever have before.
WHAT’S THE UPSHOT?
What’s going to happen as a result of this history making tectonic plate shift when it comes to gender, money and power?
We don’t know because it’s never happened before.
HOWEVER WHAT WE DO KNOW
According to Emily Green over on 𝗘𝗹𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝘀𝘁 who wrote a fabulous article on this very topic –
- Women tend to donate a higher % of their wealth to NFPs – and often female supporting NFPs at that, addressing issues like reproductive rights, women’s health, and violence against women.
- Many more women will start business – and women tend to hire more women.
- Women are more likely to invest in companies more aligned with their values and often that also benefits women led businesses, or issues that are more female centric.
- To list a few.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREPARE?
“I was desperate to understand money. Not to make it, to understand it. I wanted to know how it worked, and I wanted to know so that I would have enough and would be able to make good financial decisions.”
~ Mellody Hobson, American businesswoman and chairwoman of Starbucks Corporation
If I were a younger career minded woman today I’d be learning as much about money as I could. As Mellody Hobson says, not just how to make it, but how it works, truly understanding it and all about economic power.
I’d also be making sure to address any gaps in my career history that might include financial literacy and understanding business finances sooner rather than later.
Career paths for women have not traditionally included financial literacy and financial responsibility, so do something about it now.
- Haven’t had P&L responsibility yet? Time to ask your boss to put it on your development plan.
- Managed a cost centre, but never a profit centre? Once again, hit your boss up for a secondment or some training, or even an acting role so you get some exposure sooner rather than later.
- Don’t understand how to read financial reporting? Do a course, and get some training before it’s too late. It’s useful in all aspects of your life, and also great for those with board aspirations.
- Don’t know how to ask smart questions of your financial advisor or accountant? Start practicing, or read a book like Stop Worrying About Money by Jacqui Clark who recently spoke in The She-Suite Club to help Club members take control of their finances more confidently.
And even if you’re not the direct recipient of an inheritance, your business, or the causes you care about will likely benefit, so you’ll need to know what you are doing in order to capitalise.
“Don’t let the boys have all the fun” as Shemara Wikramanayake CEO Macquarie Group says.
Plus, this may just be the shift required to fix a broken system that systematically disadvantages and dis-empowers women.
And I could not be more excited.
Because when women win, everyone wins!