Women and Money

I was searching stock photo sites for an appropriate image to include in my blog post Women’s Negotiation of Salaries and discovered a very disturbing trend. As I searched things like “woman negotiating salary”, “woman salary”, “woman holding money”, what came up was a disappointing reminder that we still have very far to go. Apparently, photos of women depict this topic as highly sexual or have zero to do with money or negotiating a salary.

Not so for men. Why is this?

The fact still is that women in the workplace are not effectively negotiating for salary, benefits, nor are they asking for what they want. The stock photos supported this notion as women in them were depicted as smiling at the camera or other people, wearing revealing clothing, and in poses that had nothing to do with either business nor money.

Men, however, were posed as talking in front of a group, shaking hands with another man, or looking very serious and deep in thought.
The message here seems very clear: “Women are not to be taken seriously while men are always serious. Women in business are there to work while men in business are there to make a career. Women in business want to be liked while men want to be in charge.”

I take great umbrage at this notion of treating women differently from men. The root of the problem goes back to how boys and girls are raised from childhood. In children’s books, nurses are depicted as women in white dresses while doctors are depicted as men in green scrubs. Teachers are depicted as women. Pilots are depicted as men. 

What level of expectations are we teaching our children?

The lesson learned here? Be conscious of what you are teaching your children. Watch how you react to certain situations involving men and women. Describing men as rugged and women as beautiful sends a very clear message to our children. Is this the message you want to send?

In my experience as a business advisor, I have worked with hundreds of women but only a few men. This is mainly because women are often more open to listening to advice and learning, and men let their egos get in the way of learning.

When advising small business owners, I try and listen to both men and women in a non-judgmental fashion. If they have the passion for their business idea and the support from home, I tell them: “You Can Do This!” Every woman I talk to in this context tells me the same thing – I was the first person who ever told them they could do anything. I have never
had a man say that to me though. What does that tell you?

No one wants to raise a child (or grandchild) to be less than their potential. Yet we as a society do this every day. This needs to change, and the first step is awareness. What steps have you made, or can you make, to be a part of this change?

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