“We’re actually heading backwards”

I’m Georgia, the creator of Femme Fiscal. As my campaign is coming to a close and after sharing all of my friends’ tips and tricks, I thought I should let you in on a little secret, “We’re actually heading backwards…”

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I roll my eyes whenever my grandmother says that. It is usually accompanied by one of my cousins groaning, “here we go again”.

The recurring ideological argument that explodes on the daily in my household (the perks of having your opinionated extended family living across the road) is that of feminism and equality.

The leading lady in all arguments: my ex-school principal, ever defiant, grandmother.

You can never win against her. Seriously.

The claims – Young v Old:

‘Young’ (everyone):

Women’s equality in society is greater than ever before both socially and economically. There is room for improvement but we are comforted by the fact that within our circles of peers equality is paramount.

‘Old’ (grandmother):

Generally, “Your generation is the worst yet…”, “there is still such a long way to go “, and in regards to affirmative action for women, “it’s fair because that’s what men have been doing to women for hundreds of years”.

Unfortunately, the ideological shift I have found myself engaged in is a threat to women’s equality in society. It is a credit to our generation that women such as myself feel that we no longer need to fight for equality because we perceive ourselves to be of equal value to the men in our lives. #gothegirls

However, the pressures on women, whilst no longer so much about access to education or confined to the length of our skirt, have expanded to include widespread domestic violence, a spike in the gender pay gap whereby women are currently paid 18% less than their male counterparts, and also towards mental health issues such as anorexia and bulimia stemming from our unattainable ideals of beauty. Women face different issues to those than in the 20th century, but that by no means renders those issues any less important.

Further, the reason I found myself in the ‘young’ camp, I believe, is because I do not experience, or, let these pressures affect me. However, I have been BLIND not to see that other women do. Daily. And girls, you need to know that it is NOT your fault. It IS your fault if you continue to let it happen though.

Why are we, why am I, passively standing by STILL allowing this to happen?

Nikki Gemmell’s article in The Australian last month answers this question.

“It’s too easy to look away, to think it’ll all fall into place eventually,” says Nikki Gemmell, journalist from The Australian.

She’s right.

I’m lazy, you’re lazy, we don’t bother with things we can’t understand or that don’t directly affect us.

The ‘young’ argument above centres on the idea that things WILL change, but what evidence do we have that this change is going to be any greater than that of the last 100 years? What measures are companies currently putting in place to push women to higher management positions? Freezing their eggs? Hmm, it’s a start, but what about not being given the ‘pink files’ after maternity leave and increasing childcare in workplaces for example?

It’s time to start moving.

We need people like Nikki Gemmell to keep asking the questions and publishing the brilliant articles that the rest of us struggle to write, we need our brother’s, boyfriend’s and fathers to believe in our equality and push for our rights at work, and we need to get rid of “feminism” as a ‘dirty word’.

Most importantly, WE, YOU need to act.

If you want change, no one is going to do it for you.

WHAT can you do?

1. Value yourself. What you see on social media, for example, is not a true reflection of how people live their lives. I once read a quote that Instagram is an individual’s “highlight reel” and should be seen accordingly.

2. Don’t put other women and their success down.

3. Support one another.

4. Engage in your education. Do what you love.

5. Manage and take control of YOUR finances. Sometimes you need to put yourself first before you can look after anyone else. I always imagine the oxygen mask safety rules on a place, help yourself before you help others.

6. Ask questions. Why did he get the job over you? Why is it acceptable for a man at a nightclub to walk up to you and say that you’re a 5…Does he even know about your totally awesome personality, soccer skills or musical ability? I don’t think so. Why do we continue to objectify women by shows like The Bachelor and Beauty and the Geek?

7. Apply for jobs that you might not fit the WHOLE criteria for. Research by Harvard Business School recently found that men apply for jobs if they reach 60% of the criteria, whereas women only apply if they reach 100%.

8. If you’re married or with a partner, make sure your household contributions are equal. I know my boyfriend is a great cook, what about yours?

9. Find a mentor and be a mentor. Even though women have struggled to reach high management positions in companies in the past, there have been some trailblazers that you should try to reach out to for advice.

10. Believe in yourself and be strong. A favourite quote of mine that I read from one of those ‘girl stuff’ books when I was about 9 or 10 is “Be the girl you want to be”.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following this blog and that somewhere along the way you have learnt a financial tip or two. Thank you to all my amazing and talented friends for their advice and sharing of information. It is with women like yourselves that we will spark change.

Favourite websites, bloggers etc, for women in regards to business, jobs, life, wellbeing:

1. mamamia.com.au

Articles like this are great: http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/sexism-in-workplace/

2. businessinsider.com.au

3. gogettermagazine.wordpress.com

4. gogirlfinance.com or @gogirlfinance on Twitter.

5. womensagenda.com.au or @womensagenda on Twitter.

Article’s like this make it a favourite of mine: Anything you can do, I can do better: The female flight attendants who fought Qantas for equal pay

6. bsmartguide.com or @bsmartguide on Twitter.

bSmart’s community platform finds and spotlights women who are doing extraordinary things and connects them with women who aspire to do the same.

7. moneysmart.gov.au or @moneysmartteam on Twitter.

Provides awesome government researched and endorsed advice for everyone regarding their finances as well as making accessible calculators and quizzes to test your financial savvy.

8. Marie Claire magazine https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/marie-claire/

Always the frontrunners in campaigns for women’s welfare.

9. Daily Life http://www.dailylife.com.au

10. The Conversation http://theconversation.com/au

Most relevant to us is their ‘Business and Economy’ section.

11. Obviously, check out Femme Fiscal’s other articles!

My favourites:

a) Arts/Law student, renter and paralegal, Marnie https://femmefiscal.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/budgeting-tips-from-smart-saver-and-artslaw-student-marnie-watts/

b) Sports coach, social butterfly, Media/Law student, Abby https://femmefiscal.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/saving-strategies-from-the-real-life-elle-woods-aka-abby-van-der-velde/

c) President of Capital W UNSW, Commerce/Law student, Courtney https://femmefiscal.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/64/

Share your tips and tricks by hashtagging #femmefiscal

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