Women are misunderstood. Women and money are doubly misunderstood. Take the time to step outside of your hard-edged, socially imprinted perceptions to see another side of the story. It won’t be a minute.
Myth 1: Women are not good at making money decisions.
Truth: Strange, seeing as men leave the money decisions to women.
Since women comprise only 50% of the global population, this overshoot of 20-40% is a force to be reckoned with.
Not only do women feel empowered to make powerful financial decisions, but the men in their lives also trust their judgment.
Clearly, we have no issue spending thousands for or on others’ behalf.
Myth 2: Women don’t take on risks.
Truth: Women don’t shout them from the rooftops!
We’ve heard it all before: women play it safe while men hungrily lap up the risk for breakfast. Cliché much.
Yes, only 14% of skydivers are women. But is skydiving the right metric for real quotidian risk-taking?
In the United States, being pregnant is about twenty times more likely to result in death than a skydive. As Cordelia Fine, states in her book, Testosterone Rex: “if women were truly risk-avoidant, the fate of humanity would be in jeopardy”.
The truth is, women take risks every day, just like men. For one, they handle more money than men do! The perceived difference in risk-taking is a result of women’s compulsive tendency to minimize said risks. We actively diminish our risk-taking behavior, to be seen through the rose-tinted lens of gender norms.
Gender norms whisper in our ears and talk to us at night.
They call into question our ability to handle the risk, or the social backlash triggered by breaking down the age-old wall of gender-specific expectations.
Is it smart for me to take this risk? Is this crazy? Would a good mother do this? Would I be able to clear up the mess? Here, ladies and gentlemen: another prickly example of internalized unconscious bias (by both parties).
Myth 3: Women are not as innovative as men.
Truth: Biology says otherwise.
Gender roles are bad, right?
While today we can aim to steer away from traditional gender roles, they hold critical clues when trying to make sense of how men and women have developed, neurologically and biologically, in their own specialized ways.
Evolutionarily speaking, the female sex has been the demographic to take on caretaking roles (though, of course, not limited to). By nature, being a caretaker requires innovative thinking.
Caretakers seek efficiency, safety, and ease. They cannot influence what they must work with, but they can adapt to improve the process. When resources are limited, we are the ones that must become resourceful. At the core of our caretaking nature, we seek to solve problems.
Translate this to a business setting, and you’re naming all the elements required for pioneering new product territory - and the necessary conditions for an industry supernova.
That’s why you may not be surprised to hear, women are more likely than men to bring unfamiliar, unique products and services to market, that boast fewer competitors and leverage new technologies (British Chambers of Commerce, 2004).
Myth 4: There isn’t enough money going around.
Truth: One-third isn’t even being invested...
The idea of a scarcity of global venture capital also holds women back. The thought of asking for, what is often believed to be such a sacred and finite resource, can be quite dizzying and raises an onslaught of self-doubt.
Why is it then, that in 2019, a rough 30% of the money raised across the board, ended up not being invested at all?
There is evidently plenty of money to go around if you are looking in the right places. From research in online investor forums, the story that is voiced time and time again is that there is rather a scarcity of ideas to invest in.
So, perhaps, it’s the investors, who are the ones looking in the wrong places.
My question is this: if more than 80% of the investment community are men and 50% of the investment teams have never seen a woman walk through their door to pitch an idea, where are you looking for your ideas?
Women are 50% of the global population and want to be heard.
Myth 5: Money is evil.
Truth: Money is a tool. Not good or bad.
In every fairy tale, you have the good guys and the bad guys.
While the good guys bounce along with a spring in their step, in pursuit of a wholesome higher goal, the bad guys are usually motivated by something hard and cold: money. Translate this to the real world and it is no different.
There are those who choose to pursue money. Then there are those who look down on and sneer at the money chasers, weaving vibrant tales of world peace, eradicating cancer, happiness, and love. Morally, money is garbage.
But let’s keep it real.
Love, kindness, and peace are not enough. They are not tools that allow you to invest in for clothes, food, shelter, utilities, businesses, or safety.
Everything comes at a cost. Will you be able to show kindness when you feel a pit of hunger in your stomach? Will the world be at peace when global economies tank? Will cancer ever see its last day if we don’t continue streaming billions into research?
Often, it falls back on women to take the moral high ground and lead by example. A woman pursuing her career and pushing her salary is more likely to ruffle societal feathers than a man doing the same.
Familiar storyline, right?
It is critical that we break down the moral stigma of money. Female CEOs are not evil, and they do give a shit about world peace. Whoever said the two were mutually exclusive, anyway?
Myths about women’s lack of competence in the world of finance are debilitating – both to women, themselves and to investors.
But what do these myths have to do with you? As a woman, when you reinforce these myths, you limit yourself. And as a man, concealed behind the myth is a diamond in the rough. An opportunity.
Frankly, we would be remiss if we didn't have a hard and meaningful conversation about how to do business better together. It's a billion-dollar opportunity.
The Global Collective is the ecosystem that can propel your business into the sweet spot of collective competitive advantage and healthy, sustainable working climates for both men and women. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.