Have you ever paused to consider what messages we give our kids about money? Put another way, do we still promote different messages whether the child is a boy or a girl? Since becoming a mother to a little girl, I have become increasingly conscious of these messages and have become aware of some obvious disparities that still exist in how we teach kids about money…
As a parent, I am bound and determined that my daughter will learn prudent financial management techniques and most of all, to have the confidence to stand on her own. However, it seems that we are still at the point in society where we will have to do a considerable amount of filtering to make sure she understands that taking care of finances is just as important for her as for the boys!
Let me give you an example: the other day I was in a certain store shopping for summer clothes in the kids section. I noticed a piggy bank at a distance off and upon further inspection found two things; it was a shade of fuchsia pink (with flowers) that is clearly targeted at girls and it had the inscription “Wardrobe Fund”.
Now, I imagine whoever came up with this idea sees it as being some harmless humour, but what is this really saying to the little girl who may own this piggy bank? Does it encourage the idea of financial independence? My view is the opposite – this kind of message is suggesting that girls only have a superficial need for their own money, so that they can spend it on frivolous ‘girly’ items.
Think I’m overreacting? Contrast that with the blue piggy bank which was near this one on the shelf: plain, simple – no additional messages at all apart from one word: ‘Savings’…
A little while ago Barbara interviewed Marina Passalaris on Feminine Wealth TV. Marina runs ‘Beautiful Minds’ a company with the aim of creating savvy, strong girls. One of the things Marina talked about that really stood out for me was the reaction of parents when she introduced a financial education aspect to the program. Many, of course, were only too happy, but then there were the others who requested that their daughter skip that part of the program because “she’s not really interested in money”.
That’s just sad when you think about it – is it really the girls saying that? Or the parents making a decision for them that learning about money isn’t important? If your vision involves having a financial future where you are empowered to make decisions and don’t have to worry about struggling, then you are interested in money!
I think it often comes down to those unconscious biases that Barbara has mentioned before; for thousands of years money, wealth and business have been seen in an extremely masculine light so this is unlikely to totally evolve overnight.
What we can do however is simply be conscious. Understand that learning good money habits is equally as important for kids of both genders, and foster the idea that, with the right practices in place, everyone has the opportunity, indeed the right, to become financially independent.
Together we can combat those wealth blocks before they have a chance to take root in our girls.
I will be skipping the fuchsia-pink ‘wardrobe fund’ piggy bank and setting up a jar system for my daughter…