Despite nominal advances in feminism over the past 50 years, the gender wealth gap is still a pressing problem that keeps women poorer than their male counterparts: in canadaWomen make up only 23.2 percent of the top 1 percent of earners. Comprehensive, the story is pretty much the same; Women make up only a third of the top 10 percent of earners, and in the top 0.1 percent, only one in five or every 10th person is a woman, depending on the country. The pay gap is getting worse female age: Female workers ages 45 to 54 earn only 75 percent of what their male counterparts earn, while women ages 16 to 24 earn about 93 percent. This means women are excluded from top jobs (and incomes) around the world, never reaching executive positions even if they get deep into their careers.
One woman hopes to use financial education to close this gap: accountant and advisor Janine Rogan believes in the radical power of personal finance education. According to Rogan, teaching women how to invest is the number one way to break down the patriarchy. “White women only 30 percent world wealth and only two percent of black women,” says.
That’s why he started it Wealth Creation Academy, helping women invest and build wealth. new book, Pink Tax, It shows women in Canada how the financial system disadvantages and breaks them. We talked to Rogan about his new book, what the pink tax is, and how to level the playing field.
When did you become interested in the wealth inequality between men and women?
I was in the corporate world for about a decade before going into business on my own. I worked mostly as a corporate accountant and then as a financial advisor in technology. I was filing tax returns for some of Canada’s largest companies, but no one was teaching us how to invest and grow our wealth—even if we were accountants. Then about five years ago I started digging into research on women and money. I was finding a lot of articles saying things like, “Women buy too many lattes or avocado toast, and our shoes are too expensive.” And I really felt like there had to be more behind the wealth gap.
What is the pink tax?
The pink tax is a term used in the 70s to describe the price difference between men’s and women’s products; women’s products were generally more expensive. But I wanted to take it a step further and look at the multi-faceted impact on women’s bank accounts from every aspect. The aim of the book is to enable women to achieve economic equality on a global scale. It looks at everything from what you can do as an individual, to what you can do as an employee, to what you can do as global citizens, so we can start to create a system that doesn’t just rely on women. but it advocates for women to gain economic equality and makes it accessible.
Beyond the high prices of products marketed to women, what else does it involve?
I should point out that, unfortunately, we don’t have data for people outside of binary heteronormative relationships, so a lot of these statistics and things I mentioned, to them. But yes, the financial system fails women in many different ways. Because women tend to earn less, they also have less access to credit. Less access to credit is often associated with lower credit scores, which leads to higher interest rates on mortgages or loans, making it more expensive to borrow money. This is just an example.
You also describe how inequality is rooted in the origins of our financial system.
Until the early 60s, it was not possible for women to have their own bank accounts without the joint signature of their fathers or husbands. And it wasn’t until the 70s that women had mortgages. For a long time, women were excluded from these conversations. That’s why our financial system doesn’t have the expertise, resources, or tools to serve women. We have never seen women in our lives take care of their finances and this is conveyed.
I had never considered the idea that a male financial advisor would not be attuned to women’s money needs or savings goals.
Yes, there is also some research that suggests 70 percent of women leave their financial advisor after their spouse passes away. This leads me to think that they may feel like they are not being listened to, belittled, or that their financial advisor is not looking out for their best interest.
How can financial advisors be more inclusive of women?
First, when working with couples, financial advisors should ensure that both people are present at the meeting, rather than speaking only to the husband. It’s also important to make sure women’s voices are heard and that you don’t belittle them or explain things with tons of financial jargon. I think sometimes women think they should already know these things, so they may be afraid to ask the question or feel like asking the question is stupid, which causes them to be less involved in these decisions.
In the book you talk about how shame and the fear of looking stupid can keep people in the dark. Why?
It is very deeply ingrained in our system. All you have to do is look at how we talk about women and money; Women aren’t supposed to talk about money. If you want money, you are greedy. If you marry a man who has more money than you, then you become a gold digger. There are so many stereotypes about women and money that women shy away from it.
Or they haven’t been taught about money, so they feel ashamed of some of their financial decisions. Maybe they know they made a mistake but don’t know how to fix it, or they don’t want to look at their bank statements. So they have a bit of a head-in-the-sand approach and maybe some regrets about some of the purchases they’ve made, but learning and making mistakes is part of the process of becoming economically and financially equal. Literate.
I’m also interested in how intersecting identities change things; You said there isn’t a lot of research on this topic, but how does the pink tax affect queer and racialized women?
Queer women and women of color earn less than straight white women and also have higher poverty rates. Additionally, because these groups of women are less accepted, it may be more difficult for them to speak up to get what they need in the workplace or financial industry without being called pushy or angry. Especially in the business world, there are more microaggressions against women of color than there are against white women. And this just compounds the fact that they don’t get promoted or get raises as often. They also receive more negative feedback than their white female counterparts.
For those in queer relationships, both partners undertake unpaid care work and may experience difficulties at work. In a relationship with two women, the expectation is on both parties that women provide child care, so the negative institutional effects on mothers are doubled because we are not in a place where we expect all people, especially fathers. , taking care of child care.
This conversation reminded me of the expression “having it all”; women are asked to be mothers, to have a career, to have a home, to take care of their partners, etc. Waiting. This cannot help close the wealth gap.
I hate this term. From my own experience and conversations with friends, I can say that when you have a baby, you are too tired at the end of the day to think about managing money, building wealth, or taking on that extra project at work. This affects their ability to take on new roles at work because they are still responsible for everything at home. We know that if we paid women around the world minimum wage for all the unpaid care work they do, we would add $12 trillion to the economy every year, and we, as a society, have decided that care work is not something worth compensating for. It really leaves a huge demographic out of the equation.
And you introduced the term financial feminism in your book; what does it mean?
I believe this means financial equality for both men and women. I don’t want to see different mortgage rates. I want women to get the same salary as men. I want them to have the same opportunities to build wealth and live a life they enjoy.
Your book is also coming out at a time when everyone’s budget is affordable. What do you hope readers will bring to this moment?
I think there are three areas we can really focus on. Number one is the individual. There are smart ways to manage and automate your money; setting up automatic transfers and investments so you save without the mental burden of constantly thinking about money; so you don’t have to think about it all the time, especially about it. If you are a busy working parent. I also want to encourage women to negotiate everything from your next job offer to your cell phone bill. You are also building your wealth by investing. The only way we can truly begin to close this wealth gap is by investing and making our money work hard for us.
Second, advocating in the workplace, creating policies that not only tolerate women but actually empower women. So whether it’s working from home, flexibility, or paid paternity leave so both parents can take time off, there’s a lot organizations can do.
And finally, I always say that money is political. When we talk about money, we also have to talk about politics. Who you vote for really matters, and I always encourage people to look at who they vote for and how that affects financial security. How do they talk about women? What things have they voted for in the past? What policies have they brought to the table and are they helping women achieve economic equality or women’s equality as a whole?
What else can be done to close the asset gap?
Many things need to change, but we don’t have to look far for examples of great countries doing something. For example, having more maternity and parental leave so that both parents have time to care for the baby. Child care is really important; ensuring it is affordable, accessible and accessible to both parents.
I also believe we need to look at hiring practices. Companies need to review several times a year to make sure there is no pay gap and do things like blind hire or remove the name from the brief so there is no bias in what type of people you hire.
And on an individual level, the first step is always education. It can feel really overwhelming, but you only need to do one right thing at a time. And if you commit to doing one thing every month or learning something about your finances every month, you’ll be in a completely different place by the end of the year. The first couple might buy a book, watch a YouTube video, talk to a financial expert, or take a course. These can be small steps that begin to build your confidence in taking control of your money.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.