By Karin Mizgala, Co-Founder and CEO Money Coaches Canada
This year is different. No, really! International Women’s Day 2019 marks a major paradigm shift in both politics and business. The world order is rapidly changing as women assume ever more powerful leadership roles and demand changes to the way both governments and businesses are run.
Need proof? Just take a look at the new political realities in both Ottawa and Washington as women are challenging the status quo and demanding new ethical standards and accountability as well as new ways of solving the problems facing the world. Sorry gentlemen, no more business as usual.
It’s not only in the ever-increasing ranks of powerful women in the Canadian Parliament and the US Congress that profound change is being felt, but also in field of commerce. Women now control much of the wealth in Western countries and female entrepreneurs lead the way in new business starts and job creation. This is big.
Change is Happening… Slowly
Change, I am happy to declare, is already happening. I see this every day. Ethical investing, more demands for clarity and transparency from financial institutions, the rise of clean energy like solar and wind power, more corporate accountability for environmental and social responsibility. All these changes and more point to a dramatic shift in how we do business.
Yes, revolutionary change is in the air, but this does not mean we’re all living some utopian or feminist dream. Far from it. Much work still needs to be done. The old paradigm will die hard. There will be kick back. Not everyone is going to be comfortable. Not even women who are leading the charge for social, democratic, environmental and economic change. There is much more to be done both personally and collectively.
Many of us, both men and women, are disgruntled with the state of the economy and impatient with the continuing imbalances in the work place and in society as a whole. We distrust financial systems that are based primarily on greed and seemingly unassailable power structures. Market manipulation by sovereign states and international corporations control the consumer through deceit, deception and fear. This leaves many of us distrustful of governments and institutions that we otherwise depend on for security, stability and economic well being. We have good reason to be wary. We have good reason to be impatient. Even angry.
My experience as a banking executive in the corporate labyrinth that is Bay Street taught me that change does not come easily in the world of commerce, whether that be in Toronto, New York, London, Beijing or Hong Kong or any other commercial capital around the world. The demands for higher moral and ethical standards and the insistence on greater transparency and accountability is often met with huge resistance as the existing powers that be aggressively protect their domain – the old paradigm. Don’t step on their toes!
Increasingly, however, we’re not willing to be a slave to work places that are hurting not helping the world, the environment, etc. But, to bring about profound and lasting change to the economic and political arena, we must first start with ourselves. This is where real change begins.
But change is never easy or as fast as we’d like to see it. Despite the many advances women have made in the business world, one of the biggest hurdles is that women’s financial confidence is sadly lacking. In study after study women rate their confidence in financial matters much lower than men do. Most women say it’s a lack of interest in numbers, but I think its much more than that. More complex. More nuanced.
Financial Confidence is Critical
In fact, I firmly believe women gaining confidence in money matters is key to transforming the world’s financial systems. Money is power. That is one reality that isn’t going to change anytime soon. But if women truly want to experience more equality in the workplace and better use of our natural and human resources we need to step up. We need to take control of our money. And we need to work together to solve problems creatively for the betterment of all. This is our challenge.
Part of the problem with women’s relationship with money is the lack of role models by financially-savvy women. They’re out there, but we need to hear from them more – through the media, in boardrooms, within social organizations and in all levels of government. We need to share more stories about the lives of ordinary women stepping into their own financial power and asserting their ideals and values into the marketplace.
We do this by claiming our money power. Demanding change. Not succumbing to intimidation and fear. Living our ideals. In the new paradigm, we bring about change by sharing knowledge, expertise, energy, resources and enthusiasm. Sharing the dream and supporting each other – making it real. As I see it, this is the way we bring about the necessary changes in our own lives, in our families and our businesses & communities.
Changing the Conversation about Money
We need to talk about money. Now. Today. We need to understand that money is not just as a source of material gain, comfort and security. Money, in the right hands, is also a powerful tool for transformation. Once we start to truly “own” our personal finances, we gain financial confidence. Then, by working with other like-minded people, we can systematically build the companies and financial systems we need to put that money to good use.
For more and more people, having material success is not enough. Women like Lynne Twist (author, Soul of Money), Oprah, and countless other ordinary women, have shown us that we can use money for the betterment of our families, communities and the world. Still, money has to be earned and wealth realized on our own terms. There has to be accountability and principled use.
We can’t be afraid of our money or avoid it. Nor can we reject it or ignore its raw, creative power. To do so means that we remain part of the problem, paralyzed. More importantly, we waste the great potential available to us through the wise and beneficial use of money.
We need to own our financial power and use it to create, inspire, make positive changes in our life and in the world……we need to change our relationship with money so we can change the world’s relationship with money! We can all play our part in our own way and with the financial resources that are available to us, whether those monies be large or small, a great fortune or a modest pension or salary.
My Commitment to Women and their Financial Well-Being
My personal and professional commitment in 2019 is to dedicate more of my time personally and as CEO of Money Coaches Canada and the Women’s Financial Learning Centre® to helping women get more engaged, empowered and enthusiastic about money.
In recognition of International Women’s Day, I am delighted to announce our newest coaching program designed to support women entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals in building successful businesses and practices that honour the highest principles talked about in this article. Learn more.
I also invite you to reach out to us in whatever format is most comfortable to you (blog, facebook, email, phone). Share your dreams, hopes, stories and challenges around money with us. Give us your suggestions for how we can help you make a difference in your life and in the communities you serve. We’re here to listen, mentor and support as best we can. And we will use our success to help transform our own lives and that of the world around us.
Happy International Women’s Day!