I am sitting here in New Zealand over 11,000 miles from home (in London, in the UK).
I’m Tamara Gillan: mother, entrepreneur, daughter, founder of WealthiHer Network. I’m in the depths of New Zealand because the security and protection of my family is the single thing that I hold closest to my heart.
In our 2019 report on the diversity of womens’ wealth, 59% of women agreed on how important family was in their list of priorities.
When my mother became unwell, at the start of the pandemic, there was only one choice for me and that was to be here. To put her first.
Our research last year showed that women rarely put their personal finances first. In fact, 75% of our counter parts wished they had protected their financial or legal interests better.
My story isn’t unique, billions of women around the globe are facing similar personal reflections about where they’ve placed their priorities and the impacts this has had as they face their financial wellbeing being put to the test.
The impact of Covid-19 on women
Newspapers and reports are coming out daily showing that women are bearing the brunt when in comes to coping with Covid-19.
The WealthiHer Network’s mission includes:
- Driving the economic advancement of women
- Empowering and equipping women with support and knowledge
- Bringing people together and leveraging the power of collaborative action to make the finance industry fit for the future and strive towards a better – and more equal – world.
We feel our mission to support women’s financial wellbeing is now more important, and relevant, than ever.
A recent university study showed that the womens’ lifestyles are regressing back to the 1950s.
The strains on working from home – or in fact ‘homing from work’ are taking their toll. Working mothers are now doing 31 hours more housework each week than before the crisis.
Another report has found that out of the 44 million projected Covid-19 redundancies worldwide 31 million will be women.
This all sits against the stark fact that women are most likely to be the carer of elderly relatives and the one that is taking responsibility for home schooling – all in addition to their day job.
The essential lockdowns therefore are unsurprisingly not only taking their toll on our financial security but also our emotional health.
Collaboration is an ethos that sits at the very heart of WealthiHer and something for me that is essential in these pandemic times.
The days of ‘me time’; of ‘grabbing a coffee’ are gone for most mums
For many, gone are the days of a chat over a coffee, a gossip at the photocopier, bouncing ideas off friends and colleagues.
It is more important than ever that we take time to reach out and connect. No man, and certainly no woman is an island.
It’s the Brene Brown stuff about courage. To have it, you must show vulnerability.
Don’t forget that we are in the middle of a global pandemic – it’s not normal, in fact it’s the new ‘abnormal’. Now is the time to reach out if you are finding all this a bit much too cope with, give yourself a break– I assure you, you are not alone. Remember you don’t have to be superwoman.
With all the matriarchal plates spinning, your financial wellbeing may not be at the forefront of your mind. If it’s not, that’s fine – don’t beat yourself up. But if it’s a niggling cloud lingering above your head, it may benefit your wellbeing to start making steps toward taking more control of your financial future.
How women can take hold of their finances in midst of the crisis
Some top tips from our expert WealthiHer network partners include:
- Take practical steps to understand your financial status and needs
- Do a financial audit; Overcome the shame and guilt, knowing what you have is powerful
- Focus on protecting your family for the future
- Run towards financial planning and not away from it. Lean in
- Use the economic crisis scenario as a wake-up call to start saving
- Recognise the things you can and can’t change. Accept the latter and free yourself
Some additional insights from the likes of Zahra Pabani, Family Law Partner at Irwin Mitchell that might strike a chord:
- Financial planning when in love is far easier than when a relationship has broken down
- Take time to do and have open and honest conversations with your significant others, removing the elephant in the room
- Set out short, medium and long-term goals so as not to overwhelm yourself with figuring it all out at once.
Hopefully these tips are a helpful steer in the right direction.
A call to action for women’s financial wellbeing in the age of Covid-19
This situation has further intensified my conviction and I will be fighting even harder to ensure that women are more understood, accepted and catered for by the finance industry and that entrepreneurs and businesses have the support they need to survive and thrive.
We simply can’t let the crisis created by the Coronavirus worsen the gap of economic parity for women. We are all in this situation together and will come through it together. We are one.
The WealthiHer Network was founded in 2019 by entrepreneur Tamara Gillan and Lauren von Stackelberg, a diversity change agent who spent 10 years in finance. The Network is an essential force for change, championing the transformation of the industry’s approach to women. Helping women be more understood, accepted and catered for and in doing so supporting women to protect and grow their wealth.
The WealthiHer Network offers a series of webinars you can listen to via their Linkedin page. With advice from network partners, Tamara Gillan promises they are chatty, informative and perfect to listen to in the bath with a very large glass of sauvignon blanc!
About the Author
Tamara Gillan is an experienced entrepreneur and Chief Executive, having founded and run two independent, successful and award-winning marketing agencies over the past 15 years. She is a champion of diversity, female empowerment and a natural born collaborator.