Here is one of my favorite recent finds: a tumblr blog on the fashion history of women of color in the US.
You totally rock in every way. She’s 80, and still breaking up the joint!
A recent post over at AlterNet by Manisha Thakor asks the question whether money books for women perpetuate the stigma that women are stupid about money. It’s worth taking a look at her breakdown, and I do think she’s nailed the arguments. You can also hear her discussing her ideas. I’m going to mix in my ideas with hers at the risk of being a sloppy so that I can get a blog post up here before people give up on me.
The long story short on differences in personal finance come down to some pretty big ticket-financial items:
1. The tendency of male parents to be able to walk away physically and financially from the expenses of childrearing, despite deadbeat laws. It can be very expensive for single mothers to try to get fathers to pay, both in terms of times and emotions, and raising children from school age to college–if that’s even an option–is a big expense.
2. Longer life spans to plan on in retirement. Women on average outlive their spouses or male counterparts by quite a bit.
3. Discriminatory lending and workplace practices lead women to more financial insecurity due to less job security, less job mobility, and more creaming on the part of lending agencies. Elizabeth Warren has been very vocal–which makes me admire her more–about the effects that the subprime industry has had on women.
Keep in mind that we are talking about group-level observations: we can all name financially successful women (including yours truly, thank heaven and Federal Student Loans, and the Meg Whitmans of the world) That’s not the point. The point is whether we have sufficient evidence from the data to encourage women to think differently about their finances than generic advice handed out as though the above differences don’t exist. The point, for me, is to confront the stigma. Sure there may be financially irresponsible women (as there are men), but women are working in a system that increases their likelihood of financial struggle.
It’s not you, iow, it’s the patriarchy, and since the patriarchy doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, equip yourself accordingly.
Take a look at this nice collection of essays edited by J. Courtney Sullivan and Courtney Martin, available from Seal Press.
I’m not sure I had a click! moment. I am old enough that I remember my father saying “That’s women’s work” snidely, while my mother worked both his job and, supposedly, her job. A large portion of that rubbed off on me, prompting me to ask questions about who, actually, benefited from the rigid distribution of roles by gender.
FISHER, MELISSA SUZANNE. 2010. Wall street women: Engendering global finance in the manhattan landscape. City & Society 22 (2): 262-285.
From the abstract:
The first generation of women on Wall Street has negotiated shifting gender roles from the fifties to the present, a period of transformation in global financial markets and business as well. Over much of this period, these women increasingly used city places—federal buildings, the stock exchange—to promote women’s upward mobility on Wall Street. In this article, I focus on how two women’s networks—The Financial Women’s Association and the Women’s Campaign Fund (now Forum)—deployed many tactics of visibility, including organizing events celebrating women’s accomplishments in male dominated industries, using the press, and more recently incorporating feminist performance artist’s autobiographical storytelling. The article traces the ways the women’s networks shifted the sites of their spatial tactics in the eighties, from downtown financial spaces to more “democratic” professional-managerial spaces throughout Manhattan. It also illuminates the ways the networks have increasingly incorporated tenets of liberal feminism into their events.
The real questions for me reading this manuscript concerned how the author framed particular spaces as either exclusionary (financial) or more democratic (the professional-managerial) spaces. It’s never been clear to me that changing the formal structure of hierarchy opens up either dialogues or spaces more for people on the margin. Moving to less formal structure can reinforce the power of informal network hierarchies, which may be no more inclusive than another. For example, Robert’s Rules of Order require action once a motion has been made and seconded; in an informally run meeting, unpopular or marginalized voices can be easily talked over.
Take a look at the manuscript and see what you think.