Enter any functional home and within moments it, becomes apparent who manages the household. Who schedules the appointments, organizes family affairs, is the at home physician, chauffeur, counselor, cook, and mediator? It’s the women. Combine this role with the growing necessity to work outside of the home contributing a shared or full income; it becomes evident that women have begun to move beyond the traditional roles of home management. Women are now managing the money. Charlotte Whitton – mayor of Ottawa said “whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good, luckily, this is not difficult.”
The days of coupon clipping and flyer sifting has been replaced by women finding lower interest rates on loans, mortgages and credit cards, more convenient banking alternatives, negotiating better rates on utilities, and finding better deals on financial issues affecting their families. It is this expansion of women’s roles combined with their propensity for seeking help that is leading them to educate themselves about money matters. A report on Statistics Canada published in March 2006 stated that by 2004, 65% of all women with children under the age of three were employed – more than double the amount in 1976. Similarly, 70% of women whose youngest child was aged three to five worked for pay in 2004, up from 37% in 1976. This dramatic increase is leading more women to managing the money in their homes and will eventually lead to their families reducing debt load and seeking more wealth.
Debt can have a significant impact on a woman’s family and marriage. According to Brian Pybus, a debt reduction facilitator with K&G Debt & Credit Professionals, “debt is a result of life, it is the consequence of injury, illness, divorce and unemployment; there is a very human quality to debt.” Until debt can be eliminated, women have been looking outside the box for strategies to resolving it when they are over burdened as a result of crisis. Women have accessed services which provides for debt forgiveness as an alternative to bankruptcy. Women have come to realize that conventional options to resolving debt are no longer sufficient.
By addressing debt head on, as well as focusing on investments and building wealth, women are moving their families toward financial freedom. According to a report released by CIBC “Women Entrepreneurs: Leading the Charge,” in the last 15 years there has been a 50% increase in the number of self-employed women in Canada. On top of entrepreneurial innovations, women are also more actively involved in real estate investments, RRSP contributions, and creative wealth building endeavors. This will continue to have a major impact on how money is managed in the home.
It is a consistent truth that women have often been all things to all people, and now they are expanding relentlessly into the financial realm. This will have a major impact on our society as a whole. Despite the positive affect that this will have on the family finances, I question the affect that it will have on women themselves. There is only so much time and energy to go around, what will be compromised in the mean time? I implore women to consider their needs and to make choices based on what they wish for themselves, acknowledging that they have the ability to realize all of their dreams and that no two are the same.