Ring the Bell for Gender Equality 2019

Marguerita Cheng |

To commemorate International Women’s Day, stock exchanges around the world have committed to “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality,” a collaboration now in its fifth iteration.

The “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” event series is a partnership of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, together with the United Nations Global CompactUN WomenIFCWomen in ETFs and the World Federation of Exchanges to raise awareness about the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

The UN has 17 Sustainable Development Goals which were adopted into the 2030 Agenda at the 2015 United Nations Summit. This agenda requires countries to meet milestones to eradicate poverty, inequality, and climate change by the year 2030.

Goal 5 is to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” There are several targets within this goal to meet, but specifically:

  • 5.A – Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance, and natural resources, in accordance with national laws

According to the United Nations Population Fund, 60% of the world’s poorest people are women. This is largely due to the gross amount of unpaid work they do in raising families, but also the fact that there is still so much economic discrimination against women.

Even though this type of disparity is greater in developing countries, we are not immune to the plight here in the United States. Women do the large majority of raising children and tending to homemaking duties, and they don’t seem to get much respite from their counterparts even when they are able to forge a path into running their own business.

As we continue the global movement towards gender equality, we must always be willing to provide more resources for women to help them be able to have more financial freedom and control within their household. Many women are afraid or ashamed to ask for help for various reasons, and we need to do our best to help them. There are many free resources through each state’s workforce development and library systems which can be crucial for women to gain the knowledge and confidence they need when it comes to finances and work/life balance.

Some simple steps can be taken to help women gain equality in their homes and workplaces:

  • Have access to all financial accounts – including retirement
  • Create a recurring monthly finance meeting so both spouses are included in the money decisions
  • Take advantage of any workplace retirement and/or savings options. Monitor these accounts monthly or quarterly to be sure goals and targets are being reached
  • Educate women on finances – find or host workshops for women to gain financial knowledge. Examples:
    • How to create and stick to a budget
    • Reducing expenses
    • How to ask and get a raise at work

I became a CFP® professional and Women’s Initiative (WIN) Advocate in large part to help women who are disadvantaged to become financially independent and take charge of their lives. As the co-founder and co-owner of Investment Advisory & Financial Planning firm, Blue Ocean Global Wealth, our mission  is to “focus on partnering and supporting women who, perhaps for the first time in their lives, are assuming control of their financial lives.”

Are you looking to become part of the movement but are unsure how? I have personally committed to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and you can get involved too.

If you are not the owner or CEO of your own business, request the CEO of your workplace issue a CEO Statement of Support, which encourages themselves and other leaders to take the seven Principles and act on them to advance and empower women not only in the workplace but in their homes and communities as well.

We can work together to not only help end gender inequality but also make sure women have the knowledge and power to take charge of their financial future.