Money. Power. Relationship.

Economy and gender are both relational concepts, which only become through the relationships to other people real. At the same time, economic relationships are closely tied to gender relationships and the possibilities, which one person experiences in a given society, are deeply formed by the assigned gender and class, which someone was born into. Women* experience in our world still double discrimination, on the one hand because of their gender, on the other because of their economic situation which is characterized through lower incomes, worse paid professions, a higher proportion of unpaid work and sexualized violence at the workplace. According to Oxfam, worldwide, men own more than 50 % property and wealth than women.1

It should be taken into account that during the course of the 20th century women’s situation has significantly improved, which further shows in an increase of their financial assets. The equal opportunity to generate wealth is nevertheless still inhibited by the gender pay gap which leaves women at a disadvantage. The significant pay gap among different global regions should also be taken into consideration. Only 17 % of the world’s adult population live in Europe and Northern America, nonetheless 61 % of the world’s fortune can be located there.2

Gender stereotypes concerning money are in fact another obstacle to equal opportunities for boys and girls to create wealth. Earning money, especially to provide for a family is still considered to be a masculine responsibility. Pictures of important financial institutions are also male-dominated. Especially in Austria, women often hold part-time positions (48 % of all employees), which further perpetuates the image of the dependent (on her partner) woman.3

Given these facts, it is of tremendous importance for young people to start concerning themselves with financial education and recognizing existing power dynamics in relationships on the basis of gender stereotypes at an early stage, to be able to reach actual equality. Especially topics such as unpaid care work, that often has to be performed by girls, have to be scrutinized and the work must be divided equally between the genders. For this purpose there is a need to convey the achievements that have already been obtained to young people, as well as to show them chances and opportunities that are available to them in the European context, but still have to be claimed. Equality requires equal legal and economic situations, which is the only way to enable young people to live relationships in equality and to divide arising care work fairly between partners.

  1. According to Oxfam, men own 50 % more wealth than women. Zeit Online, 20.1.2020: https://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2020-01/vermoegensverteilung-oxfam-frauen-unbezahlte-arbeit. ↩︎

  2. See Global Wealth Report 2018: 40 % Prozent des weltweiten Vermögens sind in Frauenhand. 18.10.2018: ttps://www.credit-suisse.com/about-us-news/de/articles/news-and-expertise/global-wealth-report-2018-women-hold-40-percent-of-global-wealth-201810.html, 19.11.2020. ↩︎

  3. See Statistic Austria: Gender-Statistik: https://www.statistik.at/web_de/statistiken/menschen_und_gesellschaft/soziales/gender-statistik/index.html ↩︎