Talking to kids about money is incredibly important – but it’s even more crucial for girls’ financial future than for boys’. Teaching girls to be assertive when it comes to asking for more money, and making sure they’re given the same amount of pocket money as boys, is key to providing a solid foundation from which they can feel confident to challenge their salaries and gender discrimination as adults.
Not teaching girls how to be confident around money – or giving them less than boys – can normalise lower ‘pay’ for girls, contribute to negative feelings of self-worth and, as adults, make it more difficult for them to request and receive pay rises.
Aside from money matters at home, educationally we tend to encourage boys to be interested in maths and science, which will have a direct impact on their understanding of money and ability to calculate and budget effectively as they mature. Whereas we usually encourage girls to invest their energy in creative subjects, which, if they then choose a career in that field, they could be paid a lot less. Even within the creative sector, because of the gender pay gap, women are still paid less than men.
Part of the reason women could be paid less than their male counterparts is because we simply don’t ask for more. Research has shown that women are more reluctant to try to negotiate higher salaries than men. In one Harvard study, half the recent MBA graduates who were men were comfortable negotiating their salaries, compared to just one eighth of women.