A commenter this week reminded me of an excellent phrase, the personal is political.
This phrase has roots in Second Wave Feminism where a lot of people were starting to realize that political, economic and social decisions that are powerful and important don’t just have to do with countries, big business or the wealthy elite few. Choices such as our sexual and reproductive choices, what we eat, where we live, what products we use and our choice of occupation (among many other examples) have political implications and as a result we can take political action to influence these issues. For more information about feminism/gender rights/general awesome things absolutely check out Feministing, or your local feminist.
If the personal is political is a feminist foundation then personal finance is a feminist issue!
I say feminist and not ‘women’s issue’ because like another amazing feminist Audre Lorde once said,
“there are no single issue struggles because we do not live single issue lives”
(Yes you need to look this superstar up if you don’t already know. Check out her foundation legacy here).
Personal finance touches on wealthy and poverty, access to accurate and accessible knowledge, debt and credit, gender roles, stereotypes related to class, race and family status and much more.
Personal finance is a feminist issue because
- There are persistent and damaging stereotypes that exist around gender about who can handle the household money and budget
- Payday loan stores are flourishing and creating a cycle of never-ending debt for individuals and families who are more likely to be middle or working class and who have never had access to information related to interest and debt repayment
- The wage gap still exists! In non profit, for profit worlds and between gender and racial categories
- Still some of the most highest paying education fields such as law school, medical school and business school have staggering tuition costs that continue to benefit the youth of wealthy families and continue the cycle of wealth begetting more wealth
- Overwhelmingly bankers and major financial institutions are made of a very small minority of wealthy, white, western-educated men who invest your money often into environmentally- and socially-damaging ventures
And I could go on and on!
Progressive values and personal finance intersect! If the values of feminism are important to you, so should be the basics of personal finance.