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This week, all over the world people will celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the many and varied achievements of women. It’s also a time when men and women can unite to do something about gender parity.
I have taken the opportunity to join up with some great female money bloggers to write about some of the issues faced by women in relation to money. I’m continually shocked by the number of women who defer financial management of their household to their partner, which has inspired my post.
As a mother of two young daughters, for my contribution I have decided to pen an open letter to them about my hopes for their future…
My little princesses,
A dolphin trainer and a rock star. That’s what you each want to be when you grow up. Two pretty cool and equally fun future jobs! You talk about them with such animation; I wonder if you will have the same level of passion about your future careers when that time is actually here!
I hope for many things for you in your future. Travel and experiences, broad education – not just in the traditional sense, great friendships and the options to do whatever you want to do. I want you to grow up in a world where you have the same opportunities as anyone else. A world where you can succeed in whatever you choose to do. A world where being a woman doesn’t hinder any of these things.
Money itself isn’t a measure of success so I hope you don’t blindly chase riches. But being accountable for the choices you make and managing your money well does leave you in a better position to take advantage of situations that you will find yourself in. Money allows you independence. It presents you with options. It motivates you.
Which is why as you grow, I want you to appreciate the importance of taking control of, and being responsible for, your own relationship with money.
In our house there are pink jobs and there are blue jobs. I cook and daddy does the bins. I shop for clothes for you (what would daddy have you wearing otherwise?!) and daddy mows the lawn. You guys sometimes help mummy with the cleaning, and sometimes you help daddy with the gardening; it’s great to learn how to do bits of everything so you can find out what your passions are.
When you are older and get married, you’ll probably find that you divide jobs up between you like I do with daddy. That’s because when you are a team, you each do the things you are best at, and share out the jobs fairly which no one really wants to do.
One thing which we both make sure we do together though is look after our family’s money.
When I was little, Nana looked after us and our home, and Grandad went out to work. Nana let Grandad look after the finances, and she still does. They are a different generation and it’s really important for me that you don’t let anyone be responsible for your finances without your input.
When you grow up and share your life with someone, I want you to understand how you both earn your money, how you grow it and how you spend it. I don’t want you to defer decisions to your partner. I want you to have an equal and valuable voice at the table when it comes to making decisions around finances.
Talk. Share your dreams. Be empowered. Engage each other. Make plans. Work out TOGETHER how you are going to achieve them with what you both contribute.
Being your mummy is my single proudest achievement. Sure, I don’t get paid to do this job and sometimes you make it really hard work. But I think I am doing OK at it.
If you decide you want to have children, and I hope you do, you will have some time out of the workforce. It’s a fact of nature. How long or short that time is will be your decision. You may return to the same job you were doing before, you may want to return to work in a different role, or even a part-time role which gives you more flexibility once you have a family. You may not return to work at all.
When you were born, we knew that I wouldn’t return to the role I was in before I had you. The trade-off for the lifestyle choice which we made was that I no longer contribute financially as I used to. It’s a brutal reality for us women. And it is typically women because we are the natural child-bearers and most often the carers. A complicated set of challenges – time out of work and returning to different, more flexible positions – mean that our pay can suffer or even disappear altogether. This isn’t the gender pay gap that everyone talks about, this is just a reality based on a change of circumstances.
So, there may come a time when you contribute less than you used to or you make sacrifices which mean you rely financially on your partner to support you and your family. This doesn’t mean you need to be dependent on him. Far from it. Behind every successful man is an equally successful woman keeping him up. If in life you find yourself here, I want you to remember these words. You are not dependent. You are your family’s rock on which everyone else is supported.
You stay an equal. You keep talking, understanding, making decisions together. It doesn’t matter who contributes financially and who contributes in other ways, if you are making a life together, you should be managing your money together.
The couple who are open and honest with each other has a much better chance at happiness. Which is all I ever want for you. Seeing those beautiful smiles on your faces.
Love Mummy xxxx
I am proud to be joining up with the #WomenRockMoney movement and the UK Money Bloggers to inspire women to take action when it comes to their financial literacy. If you enjoyed my post, you may like to take a look at theirs also:
- Maria at The Money Principle has written about the excuses woman have for not investing and how to destroy them.
- Lynn from MrsMummyPenny has written about the women who inspire her.
- Jennifer from Mamafurfur is a mum of boys but has written about what she would teach a daughter about money.
- Jo and Leisa from Joleisa have written about how to demonstrate your financial worth when you’re a stay at home mum.
- Faith from MuchMoreWithLess has written about are you ready to invest?
- Araminta from Financially Mint has written about why finance is a great degree for women.
- Cat from Penny Wise, Rich Life has written about empowering women around money.
- Eileen from Your Money, Sorted has written about why we need to talk about money.
- Emma from Mums Savvy Savings has written about how sporty girls are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.
- Hollie from Thrifty Mum has written about top tips for women on how to ask for a pay rise.
As a little aside: Before having children, I was an Associate Director at EY. They happen to be the main sponsors of International Women’s Day which is not at all surprising to me as they are heavily invested in diversity and promoting gender parity. If you want to read some really inspiring stuff around gender parity, take a look at their ongoing campaign ‘Women. Fast Forward’.