Your Money

Why Women Are Poised to Control Our Financial Future

Book Review: The Rise of Women and Wealth: Our Fight for Freedom, Equality, and Control of Our Financial Future by Cindy Couyoumjian (with R.F. Georgy)

Women are struggling for equality in every area of society, from wages (54-80% that of men) to leadership (leading only 7.4% of Fortune 500-ranked businesses), and many women defer to men to control their finances. How did we get here? Especially when you consider that women own over half of the investible assets in the U.S.  Cindy Couyoumjian gives us a sweeping picture of women, money and power in her new book, The Rise of Women and Wealth: Our Fight for Freedom, Equality, and Control of Our Financial Futures. She shows how women were subjugated through the centuries by our patriarchal society in ways that convinced everyone, even women, that their strengths – like intuition, empathy, nurturing and collaboration – were actually weaknesses, instead of effective leadership qualities.

Cindy cites great thinkers throughout the ages – from Aristotle to Freud – to show how men and women were made to believe women were the weaker sex and should not be allowed to make important decisions governing their lives. This historical perspective is crucial to our understanding for two reasons: one is that women today are collectively traumatized by what came before–“vulnerabilities, doubts, hopes, fears, struggles… and men are carrying collective guilt of the misdeeds of past generations….”. Secondly, Cindy says, “Knowledge is power.” Her passion and purpose are to empower women to pursue “their inalienable right to financial self-determination.” And this book lays the groundwork for women to make that move.

As part of that groundwork, Cindy also details the advances of feminism, and inspiring women in history who stepped out in front and used their voices and abilities to create truly beneficial change. For example, how many people know that the Suffragist Movement actually began with five women over a quiet cup of tea before the big meeting in Seneca Falls? And who can name the outstanding accomplishments of Francis Perkins in the 1930s? As the longest serving Labor Secretary, Francis was responsible for implementing the Social Security Act, established unemployment benefits, the 40-hour work week, minimum wage, and only failed on implementation of universal health care. Cindy credits Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, for spearheading the second wave of feminism and for getting women out of the kitchen and into the workplace in the 1960’s. She marks the third wave as beginning in the 1990s with Anita Hill’s testimony about Clarence Thomas’ harassment, followed by the #metoo movement voicing protests over toxic masculinity exerting power over women.

The fourth wave of feminism is about “women, money, and power.” With over 36 years’ experience in the financial industry, Cindy urges women to become financially literate, get engaged with their money and learn how to increase it. She says that women lack confidence to invest because of hardwiring from culture, and she quotes Allianz Insurance as saying, “‘money and investing is in many ways the last – and perhaps the most important – frontier to gender equality.'” While women don’t have it yet, (earning less than men through wages, unpaid caregiving, and living longer than men), they are predicted to inherit “70% of the wealth in America,” amounting to over $30 trillion.

Women taking charge of their economic power and directing their own financial future will revolutionize the world. In the last half of The Rise of Women and Wealth, Cindy turns teacher, explaining why we need to invest, how to maximize your financial security from budgeting and managing credit card debt, and various ways to invest. Possibly the most enlightening portion of the book is her discussion of how hidden factors can undermine your investment return (think politics, economics, government regulations, etc.). None of these risks exist in a vacuum and Cindy illustrates how they interact together (historically and theoretically) and how they should be considered before making investment decisions.

Cindy says that women are poised to create real generational wealth. She believes that when women understand the powerful tool money can become, they will offset the greed and imbalance created by our patriarchal society. She asserts, with many others, that financial literacy should be part of primary school education, so that everyone with a high school degree will start their adult life with the tools they need to be in charge of their finances. Much of that education is included in this book. Whether you think you know your way around investments or don’t even try to balance your checkbook, you’ll enjoy reading this book. It will open your eyes to the way you think about money and inspire you to change your financial future.

How Women and Wealth Will Create the Financial Revolution

Guest post by Cindy Couyoumjian

Women are on the verge of extraordinary financial change more than any other time in human history. Today women control $10 trillion in financial assets and by 2030 that figure is expected to rise to $30 trillion. This unprecedented amount of wealth is revolutionary for women. It will give them the unique opportunity to hammer away at the remaining patriarchal obstacles that prevent them from achieving economic freedom and agency in the world.

In my book, The Rise of Women and Wealth, I explore how patriarchy has kept women in a subordinate position for millennia. Over the past one-hundred and fifty years, women started to challenge this oppressive structure that is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. It is everywhere in the sense that it shapes and defines the role of men and women in a male-centered society, yet nowhere because, like gravity, it’s invisible and we don’t think about how this toxic force perpetuates male domination at the expense of women.

The first wave of feminine change challenged the political order, which led to women exercising their inalienable right to vote. The second wave, which was inspired by Betty Friedan’s best-selling book, The Feminine Mystique, challenged the comfortable social construct of the 1950s and ‘60s that defined women as housewives and mothers while simultaneously denying them agency in the world. By the 1990s, and more recently the #MeToo movement, third wave feminism exposed the ugly and toxic side of masculinity. Beginning with the Anita Hill Congressional testimony against United States Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas, and later numerous reports of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry showed what happens when society allows vulgar male power to go unchecked.

Although there is no general agreement regarding the fourth wave of feminine change, I think that we are currently in the midst of a powerful change that will affect women everywhere. I call this change the financial revolution, which will finally give women the power to shape and define their own destinies. . Today, with the massive wealth transfer women are set to inherit, real generational change is within reach. The one thing that is missing, and urgently needed, is that women must improve their financial literacy.

For centuries, women were led to believe they didn’t belong in the male-dominated financial world. As a result, women have not been properly educated about money. For the financial revolution to succeed, women need to embrace money as a tool and learn how to use it. The financial industry needs to increase the number of women financial planners and advisors. Women need to trust their financial intuition and ask questions about investing and creating generational wealth. Women today are on the precipice of long-term change.   It’s up to women to take the next step, accept responsibility for driving the financial revolution, and direct this new feminine wave into true equality for women.

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Cindy Couyoumjian is the founder of Cinergy Financial and is dedicated to empower people by expanding their financial literacy and awareness. With 36 years in the industry and seven securities registrations, Cindy is more than a leader in the industry, she is also an innovator of investment methodology. Her newest book, The Rise of Women and Wealth: Our Fight for Freedom, Equality and Control of our Financial Future, urges women to become financially literate and reclaim their power and liberty to become agents of change.

The Pay Gap Matters, and Affects Us All

Pay GapI want to be paid fairly for the work that I’m doing. That’s what every single woman around the world wants. We want to be paid on parity with a man in a similar position—Felicity Jones
Equal Pay Day highlights the wage discrepancies that exist between men and women in the workforce. This year, the event was observed on April 10, and marked how far into the current year women had to work to earn what their male counterparts made in 2017. The National Committee on Pay Equity, which established the event in 1996, notes that Equal Pay Day is always observed on a Tuesday, to represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.
Overall, women still earn just 82 percent of what their male counterparts take home, according to calculations by the Pew Research Center. That number is even less for minority women. For African-American women, Equal Pay Day won’t be observed until August 7th, and for Native American and Latina women, Equal Pay Day won’t be observed until September 7th and November 1st, respectively.
This disparity points up the need for all women to support our sisters of diverse ethnicities. We can gain strengths by working together and supporting each other’s advancement. Currently, gender disparities receive more attention (and lip service) than race. “More companies prioritize gender diversity than racial diversity, perhaps hoping that focusing on gender alone will be sufficient to support all women,” Sheryl Sandberg wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. “But women of color face bias both for being women and for being people of color, and this double discrimination leads to a complex set of constraints and barriers.” We need to band together to eliminate this injustice to women of color.
For a few years it seemed that Millennial women were encountering less wage disparity than older women. However, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that today women between 25 and 34 are losing ground when it comes to pay equality. Women in that age group made just under 89 cents on a man’s dollar in 2016, down from a high of 92 cents in 2011. That means their gender gap in median weekly earnings is the widest in seven years.
This inequality is unexpected, especially since female Millennials are highly educated and encounter far fewer barriers to the workforce than in any prior generation. According to a Bloomberg report, Heidi Shierholz, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington and a former Labor Department chief economist during Barack Obama’s administration says that this group’s temporary rise might have resulted from decreases in men’s wages in those years. “Men just had been losing ground” Shierholz notes, “and instead are doing better now.”
Whether Millennial, Gen X, or Boomer, woman or man, the pay gap matters, and reducing it should be a top priority for anyone interested in the well-being of women, families and communities. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) projects that the U.S. economy would generate additional income of more than $512 billion if women received equal pay. And if that doesn’t get your attention, a recent McKinsey study showed that stricter workplace gender equity practices could add $12 trillion the global GDP by 2025 (seven short years from now) with stronger workplace gender equity practices.
At this point, no female demographic is exempt from this wage gap, and few, if any fields are immune. That means we all need to work together to change the status quo. We, yes women andmen, need to recognize and acknowledge the problem so that we can work together to correct it. Equal pay for equal work is a unifying goal everyone can support.
Below are three organizations working to educate us about the disparities so we can eradicate them. Please check out their resources and use them in your work to eliminate your gender pay gap.
Take the Lead– recently released a resource guide to help you step up your Equal Pay Day Game.
AAUW Work Smart– recently joined forces with LUNA to provide salary negotiation workshops across the country.
National Women’s Law Center– has a tremendous resource available for download, “The Wage Gap: The Who, How, Why, and What To Do.”
Bottom line, women have generated a lot of momentum right now, and we can use that in our work towards equality in all sectors. Equal pay for all women of every ethnicity needs to be a top priority. Equal Pay Day is a reminder that we have work to do and we need to point out the injustices, ask for what we want, make our case for why women and men of all races deserve equal pay, and settle for nothing less!
 
 
 
 

Yes, the Wage Gap Really Does Exist

Men and Women WorkforceWe need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change Beyoncé
If there’s one thing that we should all be able to agree on, it’s the fact that we need to close the gender wage gap. Nationwide in 2017, Department of Labor data shows that women earned about 82 cents for every dollar a man made. That gap is even wider for minority women. However, a recent piece by CNN Money says that a significant number of men still don’t believe the gap exists.
According to the 2018 Money Census report from Ellevest, a women’s investing firm co-founded by CEO Sallie Krawcheck, 83% of women said they believe in the gender wage gap, “in which men make more than women for performing the same job.” Only 61% of men agreed. Researchers also found that only 42% of women think their workplace is a level playing field for women, versus 58% of men who believe that it is. The study also uncovered the fact that nearly half of women (48%) agree that women have to work twice as hard to earn half as much, however, only 25% of men believe this to be true.
“Around the world, more women are speaking truth to power, and I believe we’ve reached a tipping point,” Krawcheck said when the report was released. “Those who can’t or won’t see the inequalities women face will either come around and join us on the path to progress – or they’ll have to get out of the way.”
Ariane Hegewisch, study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, believes men’s disbelief could stem from the fact that they don’t want to believe they are benefiting from an unequal system — because that would imply that they’ve been rewarded for more than just their own merits. They also may feel that while some workplaces may be unfair, theirs is not.
“You don’t want to be the bad guy, so you kind of rationalize it in your head,” Hegewisch said. “There are lots of ways of making sense of this for yourself, which doesn’t really address the kind of more structural inequalities that I would think we need to fix.”
We, yes women and men, need to get on the same page to recognize that there is a problem before we stand a chance of correcting it. Men need to realize that this gap impacts their wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers. Men need to take this gap personally and realize that this gap is preventing their daughters from reaching their full potential, and preventing their sisters from being able to grow and succeed in their fields.
Once men are able to make a personal connection, they need to look also to the world at large. There have been countless studies showing that companies with more diverse workforces have better financial returns, and bottom line, and the economic impact of equal pay for women is significant enough that it should be at the top of strategies for economic growth. According to a recent report from the McKinsey Group, the United States could add up to $4.3 trillion in annual GDP in 2025 if women attain full gender equality. The McKinsey reportThe Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in the United States, finds that every US state and city can add at least 5 percent to their GDP by advancing the economic potential of women. Half of US states have the potential to add more than 10 percent, and the country’s 50 largest cities can increase GDP by 6 to 13 percent.
Once we are all on the same page that yes, the wage gap is real, and yes, it impacts all of us, we need to agree to work together to level the playing field. Equal pay for equal work should be the unifying goal. We need to encourage men to support our efforts, and advocate for their daughters. Men do not have to give something up for women to gain ground in pay and visibility at work. In fact, many of them will benefit from increases in household pay, benefits and savings. That’s why we all need to join hands and unite our voices, our actions, and our strength. That’s how change happens, and that’s how, together, we can close the wage gap for good.

Closing the Pay Gap

Equal PayWomen are making their voices heard in 2018 and sharing their stories with #MeToo and #TimesUp. They are taking to the streets around the world and mobilizing to vote their values in the U.S. midterm elections in November. With all of this forward momentum, women are on track to effect serious change, and some indicators show that closing the gender pay gap could also become one of this year’s accomplishments.
On the world stage, Iceland takes the lead, becoming the first country in the world to make it illegal to pay men more than women for doing the same job. The new rules stipulate that all companies and government agencies employing at least 25 people will have to obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies. Employers will face fines if they are found to be in violation. The current gender pay gap in Iceland is about 14% to 18%, which the government reportedly plans to eradicate by 2022.
In the U.S. the private sector and many state agencies are starting to step up. Amazon is aligning its policies with those of Google, Facebook, and Cisco, who are now legally banned from asking prospective hires in California about their salary histories, thanks to a new law that took effect on January 1. The law currently applies only to employees in California, but most of the companies have proactively applied the law to all of their U.S. hires. Massachusetts, Oregon, Philadelphia, New York City, and San Francisco have passed similar laws over the past couple of years as well. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy just signed an executive order banning state agencies—though not private companies—from asking about salary histories. (The rule takes effect on Feb. 1). New York, Delaware, New Orleans, Pittsburg, and Albany already have similar laws in effect.
This is good news for women, because the goal of removing salary history from the application process is to make compensation more equitable. When an employer knows how much an applicant is currently making, it’s easier to figure out the lowest possible offer he or she is likely to accept. While it’s technically illegal to pay women less than a man for doing the same job, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that it’s perfectly fine if the reason for paying a woman less is a low pay rate at her last job.
Eliminating this question from the equation is a definite step towards closing the pay gap. Andrea Johnson, senior counsel for state policy at the National Women’s Law Center, says the salary history question “forces women to carry pay discrimination with them from job to job.”
Citigroup is also taking steps, announcing in January that it will raise pay for women and minorities to close the gap with men and whites. The bank’s head of human resources, Michael Murray, said Citigroup Inc. conducted a survey in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany, and is dedicated to pay equity to attract top talent.
All of these are important steps towards closing the pay gap. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s state-by-state research found that a girl born in the United States in 2017 has a life expectancy of 87 years. At the current pace of change, when that girl turns 65 in 2082 a wage gap will still remain in 13 states.
However, that’s only if we continue down our current path, so as my Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt writes, let’s not. “Changing policy can help and every nation should follow Iceland’s lead, but we also have to change the culture by knowing our value and insisting upon getting paid fairly for it. All that programming that taught us not to ask for certain things, really just taught us to value ourselves less than we value others. The remedy – the one and only thing that ultimately can close the pay gap – is right under our noses, in our mouths and informed by our hearts: the courage to speak up.”
The fact we are still discussing the gender pay gap and celebrating these small, and not so small steps, is both good and bad. Good in the sense that it is creating top-of-mind awareness, and bad that it is still an issue at all. Women have momentum right now, and as we work towards equality in all sectors, equal pay needs to be a priority. We need to point out the injustices, ask for what we want, make our case for why we deserve equal pay, and settle for nothing less.

Five Ways to Negotiate a Higher Salary

Negotiate Higher SalaryIt’s a fact that women are underpaid. Nationwide in 2016, Labor Department data shows that women earned about 82 cents for every dollar a man made. It’s important to keep in mind the wage gap isn’t limited to the C-Suite, but is prevalent across the board, and that disparity doesn’t just affect women, but their entire families. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reports that female workers who struggle economically often face a steeper climb to prosperity or even security than their male counterparts, and closing the wage gap could slash poverty in half for families.
One way to narrow the wage gap is for women to negotiate a fair wage from the beginning, which for many, is straight out of college. More than three-quarters of employers said recent graduates appeared more confident when they asked for more money, according to a 2015 NerdWallet survey. Flexing negotiation muscle can also demonstrate your effectiveness as an employee.
Carol Frohlinger, JD, managing partner of Negotiating Women, has found in her research that most women simply do not negotiate, and only 16 percent of women she surveyed always negotiate compensation when a job offer is made or during performance evaluations. Ultimately, Frohlinger and her colleagues found that women are uncomfortable negotiating compensation and don’t do it as effectively as men.
Keep in mind that you are worth it. you have the skill set, knowledge, and experience for the job. Assume that your salary is negotiable, and that you don’t have to accept the first offer you receive. Here are five ways you can work to close the wage gap, and get the fair pay that you deserve.
1 – Know Your Worth. DailyWorth.com points how that you can’t score a great first salary if you don’t even know what a great first salary would be — so before you even get to the negotiation table, it’s critical to do your research. One great place to start is with Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth personal salary estimator, that offers a free estimate of what you should be making based on your job title, location, years of experience and other factors that you can use as a baseline.
2 – Exude Confidence. What do you bring to the table? Make a list of your major contributions and accomplishments, quantifying them whenever possible. BusinessNewsDaily.com points out that confidence is essential to being a strong negotiator. You must exude self-assurance, even if you insecure or uncertain. Don’t apologize for negotiating – own it.
3 – Ask. My Leading Women co-author Gloria Feldt recently wrote at Motto.com that as a small child, her daddy used to tell her, “She who asks, gets.” And one thing is sure: she who doesn’t ask is guaranteed not to get. Feldt writes the best way to get comfortable asking is to normalize it. “We have to ask until everyone, male and female, sees women’s asking as expected behavior. Ask until it feels normal to you. Flex those asking muscles and they will grow. Create a new stereotype — one that says, ‘you bet women ask.’”
4 – Silence is Golden. Katie Donovan, the founder of Equal Pay Negotiations says that one of the most important tactics to an effective negotiation is learning to become comfortable with occasional bouts of awkward silence. She says that women need to stop selling themselves and simply need to ask a question, then shut up and give the other person a chance to respond. The team at Fairygodboss points out one of their favorite practical negotiating tips from salary experts is to take a moment to be silent when you need more time to react, or think. Or perhaps, you simply don’t know what to say. Silence can play to your advantage. Nobody likes uncomfortable silences and you can use this type of delay tactic to buy yourself time to think.
5 – Make it Bigger Than You. Claire Wasserman, founder of Ladies Get Paid, suggests that women to think about how their decision affects others, and recommends that they consider how successfully negotiating can buoy the confidence of other women and help close the wage gap. You can also pretend you’re negotiating on a friend’s behalf. Another Harvard Kennedy School study showed that women who did so asked for almost $7,000 more on average than if they negotiated for themselves.
It’s time to change the status quo and work together to make negotiations expected, not defined by gender. Together we need to use the power of our voices, keep the conversation going, and ask for what we deserve. When we follow Feldt’s lead and ask until it becomes the norm, know what we’re worth, and advocate for one another, wage equality won’t continue to be a pervasive problem, but instead will become a distant memory.
 

The White House and the Wage Gap

Wage GapDuring the past couple of weeks, the White House has been in the news for issues surrounding wage equality. While the the number of employees working for the White House is almost evenly split, with about 47 percent of the 359 regular employees being female and 53 percent male, the wage gap is alive and well.
Nationwide in 2016, Labor Department data shows that women earned about 82 cents for every dollar a man made. However, women working in the White House earn an average salary of 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male colleagues, a CNN analysis found.  The average salary among men working in the White House was nearly $104,000, according to an analysis of the White House’s annual report to Congress, whereas for women, it was about $83,000. That’s $21,000 less on average.
This disparity is not limited to the current administration, but it is more pronounced. A 2014 CBS report found that the average female employee in the Obama White House earned about $78,400, while the average male employee earned about $88,600. That’s a gap of 13 percent – the same percentage as in 2009.
While recent statistics find the gender pay gap exists in almost every congressional district, the White House continues to lag behind the private sector. It’s unfortunate, because the economic impact of equal pay for women is significant enough that it should be at the top of strategies for economic growth. According to a recent report from the McKinsey Group, the United States could add up to $4.3 trillion in annual GDP in 2025 if women attain full gender equality. The McKinsey reportThe Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in the United States, finds that every US state and city can add at least 5 percent to their GDP by advancing the economic potential of women. Half of US states have the potential to add more than 10 percent, and the country’s 50 largest cities can increase GDP by 6 to 13 percent.
The White House Fact Sheet on Closing the Gender Wage Gap also reminds us that achieving equal pay for equal work isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a family issue. The wage disparity isn’t limited to the C-Suite or those walking the halls of the White House. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reports that female workers who struggle economically often face a steeper climb to prosperity or even security than their male counterparts, and closing the wage gap could slash poverty in half for families. Researchers estimate that the country’s number of working single mothers who live in poverty would drop from about 30% to 15% if they earned on average as much as comparably skilled men.
Ultimately, we need to point out the pay injustices at every level in our communities and the workplace, strengthen our equal pay laws so that women are better able to fight pay discrimination, and build ladders to better paying jobs for women by removing barriers to  male-dominated fields. Together we need to use the power of our voices, keep the conversation going, and support legislation. Most importantly we need recognize this issue is not going to go away, and it will take all of our voices, our actions, and our strength to level the playing field. It is only by working together that we can achieve full workplace and wage equality, at the White House, or at the corner store.
 
 

Take Control of Your Money

Financial Fitness Coach

Jen Turrell


Financial Fitness Coach Jen Turrell helps women entrepreneurs take control of their money, so it doesn’t control them. An accumulation of life experiences has made Jen passionate about helping women be financially independent, so money issues don’t keep them in abusive relationships or jobs they hate. Her primary goal is to help women align their values with their money, so they can do the things in life that make them happy.
Jen has run businesses as diverse as indie music, agriculture and personal finance. When her first daughter was born with autism, the crisis of suddenly needing to care for a child with special needs (and no insurance coverage because of the autism exclusion) forced her to leave her job and find help for financing her daughter’s care. She worked her way through the maze of expensive services seeking advice from many different professionals, and now she helps others with early financial intervention for autism.

Women Control More Wealth That We Ever Have.

Jen points out that women have only had power over money for the last 200 years. Prior to that, we were a commodity–bought and sold or married as alliances. In fact, she says it’s still this way in many parts of the world. Jen thinks that now women have a chance to make serious changes, not just for ourselves and our daughters, but for womankind overall, and  says, “I feel like those of us who live in countries where we have the ability to wield that power through money have a responsibility to uplift women in the whole world.”

Money Is The Vehicle to Get You Where You Want to Go.

Jen says that one size doesn’t need to fit everyone. With the internet, we have a lot of opportunities to pursue what makes us happy. She gives advice about how to start in small stress-free ways in this interview. You can plan your exit strategy from your day job and start part-time, and  she has a few other ideas that require little investment as you embark on your future.
Dr. Nancy agrees with Jen about how the Millennials have the right attitude. Nancy says they want careers that make them happy and quotes, “Work is my passion and my passion is my work.” Jen commented about how much she enjoys hanging out with them on her podcast. It took her years to develop a work-life balance, but the Millennials she has spoken with are seeking that balance before marriage and children. Jen says that’s the smart way to begin a career and she applauds them for it.
Listen to this interview for valuable financial advice and to hear Jen’s powerful personal story that made her passionate about helping women get their financial freedom. Check out her website, her blogs at Huffington Post and Daily Worth. Also, she has just launched a 6 week program to calculate, eliminate, negotiate and automate your personal finances. Click here to find out more and to contact her for personal prosperity management.

Closing the Wage Gap Brings Families Out of Poverty

Wage GapClosing the wage gap isn’t simply a matter of doing what’s right; for many families, it is a matter of survival. As it sits now, three in four American families with young children rely on a mother’s earnings, and many women aren’t earning nearly enough. A new analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that regardless of whether mothers are married or single, they have significantly lower earnings than their male counterparts, with a slightly narrower gap for married mothers. The analysis shows that in 2015 married mothers earned 73.3 percent of married fathers’ earnings ($44,000, compared with $60,000), while single mothers earned 70.7 percent of what single fathers earned ($31,100, compared with $44,000).

In the US, married mothers are the primary or co-breadwinners in more than half of families, and more than 15.2 million family households are headed by women. One in three of those families have incomes that fall below the poverty level. According to the UN Women, if the wage gap were eliminated, on average, a working woman in the United States would be able to afford the equivalent of 83 more weeks of food for her family.

She also might have a shot at affording childcare. Right now, childcare for two children exceeds the median annual rent in all 50 states. Not only is childcare more than rent, in many instances, it costs more than college. A recent report from the think tank New America finds that, on average, full-time care for children under the age of four is $9,589 a year, while the average cost of in-state college tuition is $9,410. This means a family earning the median household income would spend one-fifth of its income on childcare. For a single parent earning minimum wage, the percentage is much higher, with childcare accounting for two thirds of their annual income.

If couples with children in the home are struggling as a result of the wage gap, it is even harder for single mothers. According to U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families in 2016, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Today one in four children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.2 million — are being raised without a father and almost half (40%) live below the poverty line. Taking the effects of the wage gap even further, over one-third (34.4%) of single mother families were “food insecure,” 13% used food pantries, and one-third spent more than half their income on housing, which is generally considered the threshold for “severe housing cost burden.”

As evidenced from an earlier study from IWPR, female workers who struggle economically often face a steeper climb to prosperity or even security than their male counterparts, and closing the wage gap could slash poverty in half for families. The country’s number of working single mothers who live in poverty would drop from about 30% to 15%, researchers estimate, if they earned on average as much as comparably skilled men.

The White House Fact Sheet on Closing the Gender Wage Gap reminds us that achieving equal pay for equal work isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a family issue. Realizing that for many the situation brought on by the wage gap is critical, the question is, what can we do? According to the National Women’s Law Center, we can:

  • Strengthen our equal pay laws so that women are better able to fight back against pay discrimination.
  • Build ladders to better paying jobs for women by removing barriers to entry into male-dominated fields.
  • Lift up the wages of women in low-wage jobs by raising the minimum wage.
  • Increase the availability of high-quality, affordable child care.
  • Help prevent caregiver and pregnancy discrimination against women workers.
  • Provide fair work schedules, paid family leave, and paid sick days so that workers with caregiving responsibilities are not unfairly disadvantaged.

Together we need to take action, to use the power of our voices, keep the conversation going, point out injustices in our communities and in the workplace, and support legislation. Most importantly we need to join hands with our sisters and unite our voices, our actions, and our strength. That’s how change happens, and how together we can achieve full workplace and wage equality.

Say Yes and Find Your Destiny for Good

The Profit Accellerator

Allyson Bird

Founder of Money Movers International, LLC, Allyson Byrd, echoes Mother Teresa’s advice, “Say yes” and be open to possibilities; use your gifts and talents to create a world you can love and enjoy, where you can thrive in goodness and where miracles rise to meet you over and over again. Nothing is too big or too impossible for Allyson Byrd. She is known as The Profit Accelerator, because that is exactly what she does for clients.  In the past 18 months, Allyson and her team have coached over 485 entrepreneurial leaders to create over 16.9 million dollars in NEW revenue.

Reason for Success is Love

Allyson says that every statistic would have charted her to fail in life. A black girl in the South, raised by a single mother, dropped out of school at 15, and whose last image of her father at the age of four was in handcuffs as they put him in prison. When she looks around at the life she is living now, she says that all they had was love. It was the one constant in her life. She didn’t know how to make money, save money, or grow money. Attaining wealth was unimaginable.
The etymological root of love is to believe and find value. Through her reading and her work, Allyson learned to find value in purpose and began the business, The Purpose Within, to help people find value in their work. Allyson says that 66% of people in our society feel invisible, undervalued, unnecessary and like their voice isn’t being heard. After that basic beginning, she moved on to helping people become tremendous leaders in their field. She helps them amplify their voices, many on a global scale.

Money is a Tool to Make Things Better

Allyson and Dr. Nancy agree that women have issues getting  past the “money thing.” Allyson says 80% of her audience are women leaders who haven’t figured out how to be brave enough to be paid handsomely for what they do. Allyson urges people to accept the money – even if you just give it away – take it, don’t waste it. Her company has built schools in Africa, founded sports camps in third world countries, worked to stop the hunger crisis in North America, provided funding to fight human trafficking, and much more. She never knew she could create so much wealth, so she encourages everyone to be unapologetic and unleash their talents to be a power for good.

BeUnapologetic.com

Allyson hopes this year will be the year everyone says yes. Check out her website www.allysonbyrd.com and go to beunapologetic.com to find out more about how others have benefited from Allyson’s wisdom. Listen to this conversation for more insights to help women learn how empowering it is when they say yes to a life that’s high on contribution and low on fear. Then go on up to the next level and sign up for Allyson’s next Unconference wait list. Click here to pre-register.

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