It’s been a rough few years for women, and 2022 certainly didn’t let up. After being left behind in the pandemic recovery, things have only gotten rockier, with volatile markets and sky-high inflation and a singularly devastating blow to reproductive freedoms, leaving many of us still struggling to get back to some semblance of normalcy.
But we’ve made it through yet again. And while we experienced quite a few setbacks in the fight for progress lately, there’s so much we can still do. All we need is to remember that while change can feel slow, we can always show up again for each other.
Here are five things we can all do to keep fighting in the coming year — and every year.
Talk about money
Talking about money is a huge part of a healthy money mindset. The Ellevest community knows it well — back in 2021, nearly half of women (45%) who took the first Ellevest Financial Wellness Survey said that talking about money helps them feel more supported, reduces stress (41%), and makes them feel more informed about their own financial decisions (39%). Yet just 14% said they regularly reach out to others for financial support and guidance. It’s definitely a habit easier said than done.
So if you aren’t already, 2023 is the time to try again — to keep normalizing those conversations in our lives, especially as the economy continues to throw us all for a loop. Talk with your friends, your partners, and your parents. Here’s a more general how-to guide, too. And here’s one for discussing salaries specifically. (Depending on where you live, you’ve probably got the law on your side for that last one.)
When you talk about money, you start to understand what’s possible and where you stand. Talking about money might not erase wealth gaps, but money talk taboos do keep us from talking about them, which only serves to reinforce privilege. And we need to talk about those gaps. Women on average own only 32 cents for every dollar a man owns. On average, Latinas and Black women own just one penny.
If you’re in a relationship — no matter how great the relationship — you should know that financial infidelity is a very real thing. And that divorce affects women’s finances more than men’s, but having greater clarity about family finances can help lessen the blow.
The way to take care of yourself — and your relationship, and your colleagues, and your neighbors, etc. — is to talk. (Couples who talk about money regularly report being happier than couples who don’t.) It doesn’t have to be awkward, either: A money talk hangout — call it a dollar date with your friends? — can help ease tension by carving out space specifically to get used to those unfamiliar conversations.
Teach your children well (about money and inequality)
Whether you’re a mom, aunt, older cousin, or role model, you can use some of this advice on raising kids to understand money and the social justice issues that come with it so that they’ll have more equal opportunities … and the power to give others opportunities, too.
Speak up for change at work …
For most of us, our money begins at work. So the more we can make things better for women in our workplaces, the better off we’ll all be. If you’re in a position to speak up in your workplace, here’s our advice on how to stand up for paid family leave at your office, how to advocate for equality, and how to help your company close its own gender pay gap. (The Ellevest community also had some really great ideas this year about a women-centered workplace if you’re feeling bold and want to suggest something new.)
While you’re at it: Speak up for yourself. Advocating to be paid what you’re worth is a feminist act. Here’s our advice on negotiation, managing imposter syndrome, and getting ready for your performance review. (If this is the year you intend to kick your self-advocacy into high gear, check out our coaching sessions and workshops for extra help.)
… And in the town hall
2022 was a midterms year, and definitely came with more than a few pleasant surprises. But our political power doesn’t end in the ballot booth (although getting women into those offices was nothing to scoff at). Now comes the real work: making sure the people we voted for make good on those campaign promises once they’re sworn in.
There are so many ways to do that, and they probably differ depending on where you live. (Especially if your state is pursuing things like anti-abortion legislation.) But let’s keep doing our research, demanding answers to hard questions — especially on a local level, where asking can often have a huge impact — and showing up for the people we really voted for this year — not the candidates, but our communities and women everywhere. Then we can get back to advocating for causes that safeguard the rights that may or may not end up being protected at the governmental level. (More on that in the next section.)
Spend money on women
Where we put our dollars makes a difference. Even before the pandemic, women were starting tons of businesses but receiving only a fraction of the funding. Back in 2020, those businesses were hit hard, since women own disproportionately more businesses that depend on foot traffic, had less money to begin with, and got passed over for the emergency Paycheck Protection Program loans.
So shop women. Here are hundreds of our community’s favorite businesses owned by Black women, Latinas, Native American women, AAPI women, and LGBTQIA+ people.
But also, here’s a radical mantra for the new year, if you’re in the position: Just give your money to women who need it. Donations to good causes are powerful. In particular, the past three years have shown us that mutual aid networks — from free fridges to buy-nothing groups to community pantries — are powerful vehicles for change at the community level. Whether you’re donating to established causes or to the gang of 20-somethings in your neighborhood rounding up baby supplies, make donations a habit in 2023. Here’s some advice on how to fit that into your budget. If you’re an Ellevest member, you have access to our charitable giving tracker worksheet, too.
Invest to change the world for women
Every dollar you spend, save, or invest has an impact, even if you don’t know what that impact is. At Ellevest, we’re big fans of intentional investing: knowing why you’re investing (aka what goals you’re working toward), choosing an investing company who aligns with your values, and paying attention to what you’re investing in.
That’s why we built our Ellevest Impact Portfolios for our clients, which are a form of gender-lens investing. We designed them with the goal of driving change for women around the world, but also being thoughtful about your bottom line. Here’s how they work.
It’s why our Private Wealth Management clients have so many options for investing with their values across asset classes, from our impact portfolios — Ellevest Intentional Impact portfolios, the Ellevest Climate-Conscious Impact Strategy, even custom portfolios — to private alternatives and fixed income options. You can read more about those options here.
When we invest in ourselves and in each other, when we work to make women stronger financially, when we advocate for each other with our voices and with our dollars, when we model equality and financial strength for our kids, when we blast through the taboos to talk about money — if we do it together — then everyone wins.
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