This impacts every area of their lives, including money. As a business coach, I work with female CEOs and Business Owners every day. I observe how they manage themselves, their business’ and their money. The majority of the female business owners pay themselves less than men and tend to neglect their finances – putting themselves and their business’ at risk.
Studies show that women are STILL not protecting their financial future. They recognize they need to, but their resistance is strong. Phyllis Chesler said it in this way in her book Women, Money and Power: “Money is a power sacred to most men and foreign to most women.” Though she wrote those words more than 30 years ago, they still ring true today.
My biggest challenge, as a coach and teacher, is getting women past their own fierce resistance to making, managing, or simply understanding money. “It’s not the money, it’s about power”, I tell them. They nod, somewhat understanding but not really grasping the subtle difference. I stopped teaching the mechanics of acquiring and budgeting money and instead, began exploring these women’s relationship to “power”.
How do they view power? What images and feelings does the word “power” conjure in their minds? Most view “power” with distaste – belonging in the realm of greedy, ruthless, insensitive men (and some bitchy women). That’s when I realized the link: the way a woman views POWER can greatly influence her feelings about money. It’s almost like we unintentionally shoot ourselves in the foot because power is not something we “aspire” to.
We stay away from money because money is linked to power. “The traditional female means of power – beauty and attachment to to boys – radically reduces their self-worth,” declares Marie Wilson, founder of the White House Project, in her book, Closing the Leadership Gap. Indeed, low self-worth is the major cuplrit in most cases of financial inertia in business and in personal wealth.
As women, we need to redefine POWER in our lives. We need to re-write our beliefs about POWER. Money does not necesarrily provide power – it provides CHOICES. And we can make different choices with our money than those role-models we choose NOT to imitate. We can choose, instead, to help others. The world needs more financially empowered women.
Money and power is not an end, but rather a tool for creating a fulfilling life. Start today: journal your thoughts about money and power. Where did your beliefs begin? Mine your heart, mind and soul for these beginnings, because I can assure you, they are influencing your net worth and your business’ Balance Sheet.