To end off the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we want to share a positive blog post about financial wins for women. We want to share this because money means power, and when women have money and more financial freedom, they have more power.
Over the past several decades, the past century even, there have been many financial wins for women all over the world. We want to share these wins with you today to remind you that strides are being taken. There are people, like us here at Untangle Money, out there fighting for economic and financial equality for women.
Let's dive in!
*The following information below is taken from various websites including:
Karen Jensen was appointed as Canada’s first Pay Equity Commissioner.
Launched in 2016, TBR Africa now has a network of over 1500+ senior executive women from over 55 countries. Since 2018, they have placed more than 35 women on boards, and trained over 120 women through their board training programme, Open Doors, developed in partnership with the UK’s Institute of Directors. They recently got a £1.6 million injection from the UK’s CDC which should help reach their target of doubling the number of women on African Boards by 2028.
The Prime Minister of Canada announced the first gender-balanced Cabinet in history.
United States, 2014
Nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are women and the movement to raise the wage sweeps the country. In a success for the US “Fight for 15” movement, Seattle raises its minimum wage to $15, and several other cities and states raise their minimum wage ceilings too.
United States, 2009
President Barack Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration act, which allows people to sue companies for pay discrimination even if more than six months have passed.
Ursula Burns is named CEO of Xerox, becoming the first black woman to head a Fortune 500 company. President Barack Obama subsequently appoints Burns to his Export Council and selects her to help lead the White House National STEM initiative.
Norway requires companies to ensure that 40% of its board members are women.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission recommends to Parliament that a proactive pay equity system be established so that employees proactively get equal pay, without needing to file a complaint to receive it.
The Government of Canada appointed the Bilson Task Force to improve the federal pay equity approach. In total, 113 recommendations were made for a new proactive pay equity system.
United States, 1993
The Family and Medical Leave Act becomes law in the US.
United Kingdom, 1986
The UK enables women to retire at the same age as men (and take well-compensated factory night shifts).
United Kingdom, 1982
Women are allowed to spend their money in English pubs without being refused service.
United States, 1981
The last vestiges of a husband being able to keep a wife in the dark (at least legally) vanish, thanks to Kirchberg v Feenstra. A husband is told he doesn’t have the right to unilaterally take out a second mortgage on property held jointly with his wife.
United States, 1980
Sexual harassment is first defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, although a court had heard the first case in 1977.
United States, 1978
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is passed in the US. Until the law was put into effect, women could still legally be dismissed from their jobs for becoming pregnant.
The Canadian Human Rights Act was passed, forbidding discrimination on the basis of sex and ensuring equal pay for work of equal value for women.
Irish women are finally able to own their own homes outright.
United States, 1974
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act passes in the US. Until then, banks required single, widowed or divorced women to bring a man along to cosign any credit application, regardless of their income.
United States, 1972
Katharine Graham, scion of the company that owns the Washington Post, becomes the first woman to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Amendments were made to the Canadian Labour Code to include the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex and marital status, the strong reinforcement of the principle of equal pay for equal work and the provision of 17 weeks of maternity leave.
United States and United Kingdom, 1968
It becomes illegal to place help wanted ads specifying gender in the US; in the UK, a strike leads to the 1970 Equal Pay Act.
The Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada was established and was the first Commission to be chaired by a woman, Florence Bird. The Commission’s mandate was to “inquire into and report upon the status of women in Canada, and to recommend what steps might be taken by the federal government to ensure for women equal opportunities with men in all aspects of Canadian society.”
United States, 1967
Lyndon B Johnson’s 1965 affirmative action benefits are expanded to cover women.
Muriel Siebert becomes the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. She overcomes repeated institutional opposition to join 1,365 seated men. Two years later, she founded the exchange’s first female-owned and -operated firm, which became a pioneer in the discount brokerage sphere in the 1970s.
United States, 1963
The US passed the first legislation requiring equal pay for equal work, but it would need to be expanded in 1972 to salespeople, executives, administrators, etc.
India bans dowries for women before marriage and allows women to sue if her husband’s family harasses her for the money. The anti-dowry law goes largely ignored.
United Kingdom, 1956
Civil service reforms in the UK give men and women who are teachers and have other government jobs the right to equal pay.
United States, 1938
The federal minimum wage was born with the Fair Labor Standards Act, wiping out common pay differences between men and women for hourly jobs.
The British Privy Council declared that women are “persons” and could therefore be appointed to the Senate of Canada.
United States, 1910s
Annie Turnbo Malone and Sarah Breedlove compete as cosmetics moguls, each building beauty and hair product empires that make them among the wealthiest self-made women and African-Americans.
United States, 1903
Maggie Lena Walker, the daughter of a former slave, opens the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, becoming the first woman to charter a bank in the United States. As the leader of the Independent Order of St. Luke fraternal organization for African-Americans, Walker’s efforts benefit black consumers, entrepreneurs, and homeowners in the city and across the region.
Money is essential for independence. Having money means having not only freedom, but also having power. It gives you choices. But for far too long it’s been accepted as the norm that women are poorer than men, in all parts of the world; meaning little to no power, no independence or freedom, no ability to make their own choices, etc.
This leads to an imbalance of power and control between men and women, even between governments and women for that matter. Our societies are built around men and the patriarchy, allowing men more financial and economic power than women. Women are at a financial and economic disadvantage with serious and life-threatening effects (we have a blog post on that here). We hope sharing these financial wins will help ignite a fire in you to educate yourself and others about personal finance and keep the conversation going about economic and financial equality.
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Financial independence is a huge part of being a strong, independent person, and it is our mission to help women, and anyone who doesn't feel safe or welcome in financial spaces typically dominated by cis men, set themselves up for financial success.
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