“Why are we attacked for making money?” Female millionaires anger at receiving hateful messages after sharing their success online. The main reason could be societal taboos around exploring our feelings about money and female financial freedom.
As of last year,” the gender pay gap still stands at 15.5% in the UK, with a much larger difference among higher earners and those over 40 years old. The Fawcett Society estimates it would take 60 years to eradicate the gender pay gap on pre-crisis trends. “But given the scale of the economic shock for women currently unfolding, it fears parity could be delayed by decades,” says Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society chief executive
Adding to the mix, a study carried out by The WealthiHer Network in November 2020 reveals a stark a worrying difference between the sexes over attitudes to earnings and investments.
On the plus side,Almost a third of the world’s wealth is now controlled by women and their assets are growing rapidly. By 2023,?women globally will be worth $93 trn, compared with $77 trn today, according to BCG study. At the same time female entrepreneurship is seeing a renaissance with one in three businesses now owned by?women.
Three quarters of female founded businesses say that a lack of funding, due to the impact of Covid 19, threatens their survival. But what’s really holding women back from building on their current financial standing?
The WealthiHer 2020 Report found that a third of women‘still believe finance is a man’s world even though better education and living longer means?womenAre having a greater say in all areas of finance.
Both sexes regard a successful career as important but while men see wealth as a symbol of success and want to use their wealth to travel and have greater experiences,?women‘see wealth as providing security and a platform to make a difference.
Women link wealth with health and happiness. While their male counterparts think having money gives them status, security, freedom. It’s this attitude that is so deeply embedded in society that women who do see wealth as a status symbol are shamed into silence.
According to female millionaires, it’s not a lack of self belief or reticence to risk taking, but how their confidence and financial freedom is received by the wider world.
Business and passive income strategist,Lisa Johnson from Hertfordshire is celebrating her most successful period in business yet. In 2020, she has made over £2m. From being £30,000 in debt a few years ago, this is success that has come from hard work, steely focus and a commitment to her goals. After sharing her success she was accused of being a liar, a faker and is still receiving a daily dose of nasty messages online.
Why so much hate
In October, Johnson launched her new 12 week programme ‘One to Many’ to help others shortcut their way to recurring revenue. This is when she hit that magic number and made £1m in 24 hours. Like most entrepreneurs in the digital age, she took to social media to share her success as a point of inspiration for others. But that’s when she started receiving angry, hateful messages from the troll kingdom. She was even kicked out of Facebook groups for posting about her business success.
“I should have been celebrating my biggest business achievements yet, having made nearly £2 million in lockdown supporting other entrepreneurs. However how I’ve been made to feel beggars belief,” Johnson says. “People (are) challenging me and calling me a liar, people asking to see my bank statements (which I happily share anyway), people saying I shouldn’t be sharing my success because it makes others feel bad, being told I’m too successful and that people don’t want to hear it….”
“Really this is a sad state of affairs when I’m here trying to do my bit for the UK economy, paying my tax and helping those who are struggling in business to pivot, helping them to find new revenue streams, helping those not in business build an income…and helping the unemployed take control of their own financial futures.”
Is it a British thing?
Johnson is in shock at the disproportionately hateful attacks she still receives to this day. “Maybe this is because Brits would rather see people fail,” she says. “My own circles have been super supportive and other women who are on the same path as me are motivated rather than demoralised by my success. I have also had a lot of support from America where they seem to embrace making money more. But, it seems there is an overriding message in the UK that if you’re a woman it’s best to just hide away and kept quiet when you hit this level of success as it upsets too many people and this has shocked me.”
“I do wonder if a man had made a success of his business, would he be treated the same way?”
A new study reveals that people in the UK find it easier to discuss mental health and infertility than they do money. The survey of 2,000 UK adults revealed what is and isn’t considered socially acceptable to talk about and a quarter said a conversation about personal finances is a no-go as it makes them feel Anxious” and ?nervous?.
As reported by The Independent, one in five people in the Lowell commissioned study also don’t think it’s suitable to disclose their salary in social settings, while the majority would not talk about the subject of money at work.
For Johnson, the importance of having made this money, especially after have been in debt just a few years ago, is a source of inspiration for her. She was hoping it’d serve the same purpose for others at a time of uncertainty, job losses and general lows. “(I want to) inspire others that they can too and that they can rewrite their story. The fact that I have hit this income level means my work is helping thousands of others who are now on their own path to changing their lives, whether that’s through them making more money, or finding a business model that gives them more time and freedom. I don’t think successful women should be made to feel they have to hide. What is that all about?”?
?Don?t feel that you need to hide who you are, your achievements, your story, what is possible just to make others feel more comfortable. It’s more important than ever for people (especially women) to start feeling comfortable hearing about money and talking about it otherwise the mindset we have about money is never going to change and that is part of what stops us creating more wealth!?
Why are women bullied into silence when it comes to financial success?
It is not only Lisa who is riled by the fact that she’s being made to feel bad about hitting a great achievement.
Abigail Horne from Stoke is an award-winning entrepreneur who owns and invests in multiple businesses. She’s also a best-selling author and the founder of Authors&Co. Like Johnson, Horne too has had her best year yet in 2020. She has celebrated a £120,000+ launch of a new online programme, which has been incredible for her having just had her third baby in September. She’s been able to continue to serve her clients and maintain consistent revenue while being a mother, something she’s hugely proud of. However she admits to often hiding her success rather than celebrating it because of fear of backlash.
“I have often felt so low and had quite a bit of guilt for having my best ever year. I’ve celebrated nothing finance related to not upset anyone.”
“Yet, deep down I am so proud of my contribution to our economy this year, for the part I’ve played in making sure my team have earned well and not suffered, and that my tax has supported many others. A woman who mentions wealth is often considered brash, a show off, materialistic. Maybe this is why (so) many of us are reluctant to bring up the topic,” she says.
“I have been so worried to hurt someone’s feelings, that I have preferred not to say anything at all. Yet I also know that many people would be inspired by what I have achieved. ?
For Catherine Morgan, an international multi-award winning financial planner, coach and founder of The Money Panel, women are systematically silenced by societally imposed taboos. She is?on a mission to reduce financial anxiety and increase financial empowerment and resilience for women all around the world.?
“Many refer to the topic of money as taboo. Feelings about money are treated with the same way hypocrisy, prudishness and awkwardness as sex, drugs and racism.”
By not talking about money we give it power, she explains. “It’s when we hide talking openly about money that we fuel it with personal shame, guilt and responsibility. It is not money that is taboo but the meaning we choose to attach to it. So newsflash?we need to talk more openly about the emotion of money. We need to talk about this because the topic of money is that it can get a lot of people very touchy, very fast!”
We need to separate our identity from the meaning of money. This is why our own experiences of money and messages that influenced how we feel about money become the blueprint by which we operate.
If you feel judgement come up, ask yourself where this comes from. Many of the beliefs we carry about money are inherited beliefs that have been passed through the generations. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that come up and as many wealthy women experience, this can bring up a whole bag of emotions. Bringing awareness to our own beliefs about money can help us to dismantle the emotions of shame, guilt and judgement of ourselves and others and to detach money to our own sense of self.
The amount of money somebody earns is not a reflection of who they are. Ask yourself, what does money mean to you and bring some curiosity to this, says Morgan. “Unless we actually start to talk about the natural human emotions that money evoke, this taboo won’t go away and gender disparity will continue to exist.
What needs to change
“You cannot change what you do not understand,” says Tamara Gillan, CEO of The WealthiHER Network. “Our extensive global research seeks to highlight where change is needed to better serve and empower women financially, so they can prosper, particularly in these challenging times.
?While wealth is controlled by more women than ever before and growing fast, this group has been more negatively impacted, as a result of the pandemic and their self-esteem and financial confidence and security has suffered,” she explains.
At a business and entrepreneurial level, they 74% don’t feel supported and a lack of funding 75% of female entrepreneurs are concerned about access to funding and bias in the process. But this self belief may stop women from sharing their financial success, which only fuels stigma for others.
Just as not all male business owners are about flashing their cash and powwowing at the pub, not all female business owners are scared to take risks or see financial freedom as secondary to family planning. These beliefs are so deeply rooted in our society, The Fawcett Society’s estimation that it may take 60 years to reach gender parity may be a pipe dream.
That is, unless more women refuse to feed the trolls that try to keep them down.