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Laura Mattia Blog

Wishing you the financial freedom to live your life on your terms

The final key to gender equality is mastery of money

Published: July 10, 2018 7:57 a.m. ET Market Watch

Women are skilled with finances and should participate fully in money decisions.

Women have made enormous strides working in occupations historically dominated by men, yet social norms in the U.S. continue to restrict women’s progress, particularly in finance. Female fund managers, financial planners, financial analysts, and financial managers are a small fraction, usually under 20%, of financial professionals.

While many financial organizations recognize the need to advance women in financial roles, women themselves must influence change in both the financial sector and around women’s relationship with money, using tools that can ensure their success. Indeed, female mastery of money is the final key to equity among the genders.

This about more than money — it’s about the power and freedom to make choices.

Indeed, this about more than money — it’s about the power and freedom to make choices. Women must realize that understanding, managing, controlling, earning, and spending money confers status, privilege, power, and freedom — and control of everyone and everything that money can buy or influence.

When women acquire financial skills and knowledge, they can tip the scales of gender-linked power in their direction. This is why it’s so important for women to become financial leaders and advisers, so they can encourage other women to become financially engaged.

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Dr. Laura Mattia: Amazing Women on Suncoast View Television

What an honor to be recognized as an Amazing Suncoast Woman. I had the opportunity to discuss the the PFP program at Muma College of Business, USF and my new book, "Gender on Wall Street: Uncovering Opportunities for Women in Financial Services"

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Not “Me Too” - I’m Out

The Financial Planning Association’s Women’s Knowledge Circle recently had a discussion about the “Me too” movement.

In the discussion the group bemoaned the plight many if not all women have endured - the use of power and oppression through sex. Sexual intimidation at work is another form of bullying behavior which includes verbal abuse, humiliation, threats, and reoccurring and frequent work interference. In this country there are discrimination laws against this behavior. Yet the behavior continues.

As one of the hosts of the women’s knowledge circle, part of my role is to respond and to facilitate conversation. But I didn’t say much since I am conflicted on this topic. Of course, I am bothered by any gender-specific exploitations used to prevent women from achieving successful careers. This behavior does not just threaten career success but also can result in debilitating psychological damage. I am even more deeply angered by behavior that threatens physical safety as a result of sexual pressure and extortion.

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Finding Your Passion in Financial Services

Which comes first, your passion or your job satisfaction.

Interesting question. Cal Newport, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown university argues that “follow your passion” is bad advice (So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work We Love, by Cal Newport. 2012. New York: Business Plus. 273 pages). He argues that pre-existing passions are often not practical in selecting a profession and instead we should simply seek a profession that we find interesting. Being interested will hopefully motivate you to learn more and master skills that make you successful. But what is success? Success is the ability to make certain your values and personal vision are met because you offer something of value. When you are good at your job, you have leverage to dictate what you want. What are your most important career values? People who choose a financial services career will have different values but there are often similarity or crossover as well such as a desire for variety, responsibility, helping people, and intellectual challenge.

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Laura's New Book: Gender On Wall Street: Uncovering Opportunities For Women In Financial Services

Dr. Mattia is the author of the forthcoming book "Gender On Wall Street: Uncovering Opportunities For Women In Financial Services" coming out spring 2018 from Palgrave Macmillan.

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