The importance of women’s financial independence

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Women's Financial IndependenceEvery year on March 8 people around the globe celebrate International Women’s Day — a day devoted to the economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, and the furthering of gender parity.

In Canada the 2018 theme is #MyFeminism, which is fitting as our Prime Minister is a self-proclaimed feminist. At January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the participants lined up to hear Trudeau speak on women’s equality. In his speech he made reference to #MeToo, Hollywood’s Time’s Up, and the Woman’s March. He also said there was “… still much room for improvement.”

His words rang true as only one fifth of the delegates were women, and the Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap Report showed the gap widening. It will now take 217 years to reach world-wide gender equality, up from 170 years.

Being financially independent is an important ingredient of total independence. The main ingredient of financial independence is earning power. The main ingredient of earning power is education.

One of Canada’s challenges is pay equity. Statistics Canada shows women make 74 cents to every dollar a man earns. Oxfam Canada reports it is possible for a Canadian woman to work full time and still live in poverty.

A strong trend over past decades shows more Canadian women are pursuing post-secondary education.

However, despite Canadian women representing 60 per cent of university graduates, those degrees have not resulted in more key decision-making positions such as CEOs.

Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef was also at Davos, and sat on a panel to discuss gender, power, and sexual harassment. Here again, more attention is needed. According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation half of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence after the age of 16.

True gender equality may be a long way off, but those who believe they can make a difference are a determined group of women and men. Including our Prime Minister.

Education and Financial IndependenceFinancial independence based on a strong education is an important ingredient in that success. The other is getting involved.

Join the conversation at #MyFeminism.