It's Time for Feminism Reform
It’s the presidential political season here in the U.S.
This is the time where politicians on both sides of the aisle start talking about how they can reform various aspects of government. True reform on any political issue is rarely the result, but sometimes we take a few small steps in the right direction. This is precisely what needs to happen with feminism.
We need reform!
I love my fellow sisters. I have used my career to date to try to empower women rather than to drag them down. In my mind this is the essence of what it means to be a feminist. Unfortunately, many of us have lost sight of how this feminism thing works. By definition, feminism is defined as: “the advocacy of women’s right’s on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” This notion of global “advocacy” is not only unattainable; but it is unreasonable.
The segments of the feminism party are many and varied. Like many things in government and even in life, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Truthfully, how do you satisfy all women without tripping over something completely unique to a sub-demographic? It is impossible.
Started from the bottom now we’re here…
Here’s what I see. We have young women who see any act of chivalry by a man as an affront to their independence. We have a group of women that are anti-men everything and remain ready to spit fire at the sight of a man – whether he is supportive of women progressing or not. Finally, we have some women represented in leadership across Corporate America, Technology and the sciences – it isn’t the optimal number, but some of us have arrived. Yet, those select few who have reached these heights make it harder for other women to rise whether out of pure malice, jealousy or poor attempts at trying to mimic the hard-nosed leadership men exhibit almost innately.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have some phenomenal women of all ages and backgrounds creating positive networks and movements at a grassroots level. Last but not least, we have women like me who are huge champions of women from all walks of life; but are reluctant to wear the feminism badge because the overall goal and message is lost on us. I’d like to think of the latter group as the Independents of Feminism. We’re unsure of where feminism is going and we don’t have any one in particular representing our interests.
No movement is effective unless there is an overarching vision for people to sink their teeth into. Take the workplace for instance, you can hire a gazillion workers to work for you, but if they don’t understand your expectations or vision for the company – their work is meaningless.
I have created a short plan of reform for feminism. It is one that I believe will both unite and provide clarity around what we want. Here are some suggestions:
The issues are varied, but we have to own them collectively. What I experience as a Black woman is not the same as what as what a Latina or White woman experience. Don’t patronize me or belittle my experience and I will do the same for you. We need to take the time to understand all of the issues at hand. They all matter and have to be raised collectively.
Every man walking this earth is not our enemy. There are some men that think we are doing fine for being women. Those guys are jerks and deserve our death stares. However, there are some men that had nothing to do with creating our plight and want to see us win. We can be “independent”, “boss babes”, “queens” and all of those monikers and not have to denigrate all men.
Less talk, more uplifting. Some of you ladies are quick to claim being a feminist on social media and in social situations – yet you put other women down constantly. When was the last time you helped another woman out of the goodness of your heart? Have you mentored a young girl ever? More importantly, if your younger self met the present day “you” would she be proud? Talk is cheap. When I think back to the most treacherous bosses I have had in my career, they weren’t men – they were women. From the PTA to the workplace, we need to be uplifting one another not cutting each other down.
At a minimum, these are the things that we need to get straight before any of us proudly wear the feminism badge. I pray we can turn this around before either of my daughters becomes young women, because right now the feminism movement needs a lot of help.
Advisors Will Be Extinct in 5 Years Unless…
I’ve had financial advisors for more than 40 years. Not once in those years have I called my advisor to find out what stock/funds I should buy or sell. But I have called to find out where I should get my first mortgage, when to sell my house, or how much income I could get in retirement.
In short -- and I think I’m pretty typical – I was looking for financial advice, as it relates to my life.
Here’s the disconnect, what most advisors do is simply manage their clients’ assets. They determine what to buy, and what to sell, they think about risk management, about growing their practice by finding new clients and about getting paid.
Historically that has been the business model. But as more women take control over financial assets, they, like me, will be looking for a different experience. And unless the financial community is willing to change ….. advisors, as they are today will be extinct in five years.
Advisors who want to survive will have to do a lot more than just manage money – they will have to provide genuine “advice”. That means doing what’s right for the client, not pushing product and pretending it’s advice.
Women especially, but all investors generally, are becoming more and more cynical. They says, “If I want advice about reducing my debt, that’s what I want and not ‘here’s more debt’ because that’s what my advisor gets paid for! And if saving taxes is what I want then saving taxes should take precedent over selling me a product.”
You may be thinking that spending your time providing advice isn’t lucrative but the reality is that in the long run – it pays off in spades. The advisors who take the time to build real relationships with clients, who provide advice as it relates to their clients’ lives, even when there is no immediate financial benefit to themselves, those who don’t simply push product – are the ones who over time have the most successful practices.
Generally women understand and value service, but they will say, “If I’m paying, I want to know what I’m paying for: Is it for returns? Is it for advice? Is it for administration? I want to know. Then I can make up my mind what’s worth it and what isn’t.”
Investing is becoming a commoditized business and technology is replacing research that no one else can find. Today the average advisor is hard pressed to consistently beat the markets, and with women emerging as the client of the future, unless they start providing real advice, their jobs will likely be extinct in five years.
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