It’s Hard Out Here for a …. Woman?

... because women are still being charged extra for being female.

It’s funny how you can know something, but it doesn’t really set in until you read about it in numerical form. The Nation’s article “The High Cost of Being a Woman” by Bryce Covert was that moment for me. Not only did she mention the same things I already knew (women are charged more for everything, we make less than males, blah, blah, blah ..) but she was able to bring them to a level that’s easy to understand. Her article got some help from a Jezebel article and a Marie Claire article.

From Jezebel

When it comes to home loans, the Consumer Federation of America found in 2006 that women were 32 perecnt more likely to end up with high-interest subprime loans, even if when they had better credit ratings than the men. This may not be a case of discrimination, but rather the result of the way women tend to shop for things. Economists theorize that we rely on word-of-mouth rather than just taking the lowest rate from whomever is offering it. We aren’t as likely to negotiate either, which puts us at a disadvantage when buying cars, homes, or other big items like appliances.

Some other interesting points from both articles include:

  • On average, women now pay $200 more for a car than a white man would, and black women pay a whopping $400 more.
  • The gender wage gap stood at 82 cents on the dollar for the same work men do. That gap ends up costing women $431,000 in pay over a 40-year career.
  • Women pay more just to get their shirts dry cleaned (even though a “blouse” and a man’s dress shirt is basically the same thing).

As we are all becoming more savvy about personal finance, it’s important to remember that we all have agency. It’s up to each of us to know the P.I.L. of every loan and stand up for ourselves. We don’t have to beg for anything. We know what our assets are, we know what we need/want, and we’re going to find professionals that bring value to our financial lives.



We All Have Agency

A favorite topic of mine is the concept of agency, especially with the working poor. Too many times I’ve spoken with people that get up at the crack of dawn to work a menial job then follow up a full day’s labor with yet another low paying job in the afternoon/evening and they will not agree that there is much they can do to change their lives.

There is an idea that the social, financial, and governmental systems that meter their lives are incapable of being changed, amended, and/or disrupted by people in their position. What?! As the saying goes, “power is never given, it is taken”. I honestly don’t understand why the working poor don’t put up more of a fight to understand, and change, these systems.

The first step is to learn all you can about credit, debt, taxes, investing, etc. You can’t manage or change what you don’t understand.

The second step is to become an advocate for yourself, your family, and your community. For example, make sure that you are paying a fair price for things, make sure that you are shopping around for the best loans for your credit history, ask questions and make sure you get answers before you sign any documents.

Next, vote according to what makes the most sense for you and your family. Don’t become swayed by flashy t.v. commercials or slick talking politicians. The government works for us, the people. The decisions the politicians make effect you in your daily life more than you think.

Lastly, share what you know with anyone that asks. Make sure that you pass on the knowledge and practice of that knowledge to your children and others in your community. There is strength in numbers and power in accumulated knowledge.

Power to the people!