Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you likely know women make about 83 cents to a man’s dollar. But focusing on the gender pay gap is ignoring a much bigger problem: the gender wealth gap.
Essentially, it’s not just about how much women make in comparison to men, but how much they own and keep. I talked about this unique challenge with Scott Cravens, the founder and chief operating officer of Full Sail Capital. He manages money for a living. I build female-centric communities for a living. So we chatted about the disparities between wealth education and access between men and women.
What are the men doing to accumulate and grow their wealth that women aren’t?
We weren’t scientific about it, but anecdotally Scott and I agreed that at least in communities like Oklahoma City, it really came down to exposure. In his circles, it’s the men who are already accumulating wealth who get the most access to services and insight about how to keep it and grow it. In my circles, the women are more or less left to figure it out on their own.
Following my conversation with Scott, I asked several more local women their thoughts on closing this wealth gap. When I asked women (even prominent, wealthy ones) what they had been taught as a wealth-building strategy growing up, many chuckled and rolled their eyes and said something along the lines of “marry rich.”
There are many things about this wealth gap that we cannot change. For starters, women earn less than men, they stay in the workforce less time than men, they statistically pay more interest on credit cards, small business loans and mortgages than men.
But if I know anything about the women in Oklahoma City, I know they don’t like to be defined by statistics and they would rather focus on the things they can control.
There are things women can combat to close this wealth gap, starting with putting themselves in the rooms where wealth-building discussions are taking place. They have to work harder than men to find these spaces, considering 86% of financial advisers are men and 98% of mutual fund dollars are managed by men, but hard is not impossible. Women who are willing to put themselves into the uncomfortable situations of learning about and discussing wealth are the ones who will combat the statistics and begin to close the gap.
Remember Scott? He certainly fits all the statistics in his gender category, too, but he wants to equip women with the same education and resources he’s been providing wealthy men for years. You just have to ask him. Shoot me an email and get the conversation started.
Hannah Schmitt is a mom of two and the owner of The Treasury, a co-working space for ambitious women in Oklahoma City.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Guest: To close gender wealth gap, women must find spaces to discuss money