The ability to accumulate wealth and make long-term financial plans is directly linked to health and well-being. Money is a major stressor for many, and women are at a steep disadvantage. The wealth gap is well documented — women make $0.82 for every dollar a man makes. However, the financial inequalities don’t end there.
Women have less financial security overall. 22 percent of women wouldn’t be able to maintain their current lifestyle if they encountered financial hardships, compared to 13 percent of men who said the same. This gap exists with families, too. 30 percent of single mothers live below the poverty line while 17 percent of single fathers struggle with poverty.
When women are given the opportunity to build wealth, systemic biases put a cap on these chances. For example, women spend 2 percent more when buying a home and sell for 2 percent less than male homeowners.
There are several factors that influence these inequalities. Women weren’t able to have an independent bank account without a husband’s permission until the 1960s, so it takes time to unravel centuries of biases.
Additionally, women tend to have lower financial literacy rates than men — though a third of the gap is attributed to a lack of confidence rather than a lack of knowledge.
Advocacy and action are key to closing the wage gap and giving women opportunities to build wealth. Here are some ways you can help at work:
Audit Pay and Promotions
Salary and career growth are direct ties to financial stability. Create a process to audit raises and promotions, or invite a third-party audit to catch any inequalities in your office.
Start a Mentorship Program
Build an internal mentorship program to help your employees grow, develop team bonds, and support your company’s culture. If your team is too small for an internal program, look into local opportunities for young professionals and women and get involved to encourage your team to mentor or be a mentee.
Prioritize Professional Development
Highlight opportunities for your team to grow and learn new skills. You can have monthly lunch and learns internally or add a company benefit to contribute a set amount of money to support professional development. This can be used for one-time classes, conferences, or even webinars and books.
Promote Diversity at Work
Learn how you can promote diversity and take an honest look at your office’s shortcomings. Study up on how to communicate inclusively, provide diversity training for your management, and be sure that your leadership teams are representative of your diversity goals.
Include employees in the conversation and ask what you can do better and support employee-led committees to advance your efforts and culture.
Wealth building and leadership opportunities for women are expanding, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Become an advocate for gender equality at work and in your community with the steps below.