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Women Managing the Money

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The days of coupon clipping and flyer sifting has been replaced by women finding lower interest rates on loans, mortgages and credit cards, more convenient banking alternatives, negotiating better rates on utilities, and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.

Women Managers As Communicators

There is widespread acceptance of the notion that we humans communicate in four main channels. These channels are the visual, verbal, cognitive and experiential ways we have of taking in the world around us, organizing our perceptions, and communicating to others. Thanks to Neuro Linguistic Psychology (NLP) we all have the opportunity to reflect on what this means for our daily interaction with others. Women in management may find this set of insights particularly useful for a quick assessment of what is happening in their shop.

The stereotype of women is that they feel while men analyze. Based on this assumption men are presumed to be the better commanders in battle and the more desirable candidates for top management positions. CEO’s, after all, need to be free of emotion that could cloud their judgment. The implication is that women are not free of emotion that could cloud their judgment. The stereotype forgets to mention that because men in high places often try to “not be emotional” they stuff their feelings. This simply means that they are emotional but operate blind to feeling – more accurately, numb to feeling. Those who are not aware of their own emotions are at the mercy of their emotions, and thereby put everyone else at the mercy of emotion-driven decisions by leaders and managers who claim not to be emotional.

All of us operate verbally, visually, experientially and cognitively even though most people have a preferred or favorite channel. For persons in management to be in tune with their workforce it is helpful to be versatile in all four modes. The workforce will be made up of people who communicate in their preferred modes, especially about important matters. As the leader, if you only “listen” in your mode you will not connect with very many of those you lead. You will be perceived as controlling and giving orders but as not very good at listening. The work force will peg you as not interested in them. You will never be liked, trusted or respected.

o Visuals “give the picture” when communicating. They like to give their boss the picture. It is not the actual words but “the picture” conveyed by words that it important. Visuals are very good at taking in the entire situation and seeing where it will lead. Projections based on all the known information are a frequent strength of visuals.

o Verbals need to talk it out. They only feel connected when there is conversation. They need to talk to their boss and their subordinates, frequently. Meetings, therefore, are very important to them for fostering teamwork.

o Cognitives trade in data and like to analyze. They put thought into their work and into any suggestions they might have for the boss. They do not like to have a boss who is not logical. They especially do not like for the boss to be unreasonable. And they expect thoughtful, objective work from their subordinates.

o Feelers value experience and are put off when what they are experiencing is not considered significant. Feelers worry about how the boss and fellow workers are feeling.

So: with regard to being a woman in management, it makes no difference that you are a woman and not a man. We are all communicators and the same principles of communication apply equally. Forget about the stereotypes. Focus on how those around you are communicating and build up your listening skills.

Women Managers Leaving Corporations for Entrepreneurship

Increasingly, women managers are choosing to “opt out” when corporations fail to meet their professional needs. Opting out–the latest catch phrase within corporate circles–describes the growing trend of leaving corporate positions for alternative career paths.

A significant number of women managers are leaving large companies to start their own businesses. In fact,
women are quitting corporate jobs in favor of entrepreneurship at twice the rate of men, making a significant impact on the traditional and online marketplace, according to Cheskin Research, a California-based strategic market research and consulting company.

Recent research indicates interesting trends for women entrepreneurs. According to the Center for Women’s Business research, the number of women-owned U.S. businesses grew at twice the rate of all firms between 1997 and 2002. And the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that women-owned businesses account for 28 percent of all privately-owned companies. They employ 9.2 million people and contribute $2.38 trillion in revenue to the U.S. economy.

Why Women Managers are Leaving Corporate America?
Women used to be willing to devote their time, energy, and effort to the corporation’s needs–at the expense of meeting their own professional goals. But not anymore. They’re starting their own businesses in an effort to gain more freedom, recognition, money, opportunities and other rewards.

Fifty-one percent of women business owners with prior private-sector experience cite the desire for more flexibility as the major reason for leaving corporate positions, according to a study by Catalyst, a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance professional women. Twenty-nine percent said restrictive glass-ceiling issues drove them out the door. Of those women, 44 percent felt their contributions were not recognized or valued.

“As women walk out the door after years of training,” said Catalyst President Sheila Wellington, “what really walks out is the potential that those women would have brought to Corporate America.”

The Catalyst research–co-sponsored by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, the Committee of 200, and Salomon Smith Barney–also revealed that:

o A third of the women surveyed by said they weren’t taken seriously by their employer or supervisor.

o Fifty-eight percent of them said that nothing would attract them back to the corporate world.

o Twenty-four percent said they could be lured back by more money, and 11 percent by greater flexibility.

Keeping Women in Corporations

Experts say corporate America isn’t doing enough to keep women from walking out the door. Companies need to focus on providing flexibility, as well as continuing challenges and opportunities for personal growth, to retain women whom they view as high-potential or who are already significant contributors, says Catalyst. In addition, companies should identify potential women managers early in their careers, reward women’s bottom-line contributions, and recruit female entrepreneurs to corporate boards and senior line positions.

Expanding opportunities for women in leadership will require corporate change, as well as accommodations on the part of women themselves. Corporate cultures must support initiatives such as giving women high-visibility assignments, making gender diversity a part of succession planning and holding managers accountable for women’s advancements.

Women managers can hone their leadership ability by seeking out risky, high profile assignments. If they need to strengthen their leadership skills to meet new challenges, they should consider hiring an executive coaching firm. For example, QuadWest Associates of Michigan offers a variety of business coaching and leadership development services to help executives optimize their skills and performance.

By investing in coaching services, women managers can position themselves to expand their boundaries. This can help them excel–whether they remain in a corporate setting or strike out on their own.