Ask any woman about her experience with unequal treatment by professionals and she’s sure to have more than one example. Women are all too familiar with being overlooked, ignored, and put on the back burner when their male counterparts are in the room. Consider these scenarios:
- A doctor dismisses valid symptoms, blaming them on hysteria
- The car mechanic reports a bogus diagnosis to rack up a higher bill
- A bank teller talks directly to a husband, ignoring the wife
Widespread, subtle misogyny has plagued service-based industries for decades and counting. The financial advisor industry is no exception.
It’s time to address this outdated mentality and what it means for female clients seeking financial advice. Here are some warning signs that your financial advisor hasn’t addressed client gender inequality:
- They use “mansplaining”
Mansplaining is a relatively new term used to explain the act of talking condescendingly to a woman without regard for her feelings. The new terminology resonated with so many women that it was one of the “Words of the Year” by the New York Times in 2010.
When female clients approach a financial advisor, they often feel they’re talked down to, as if they’re incapable of understanding basic finances. Both male and female (yes, female too) advisors have a long history of stereotyping women as inept when it comes to financial tracking and organizing.
- They purposely use inside jargon
Many financial advisors will throw around fancy terminology to make themselves appear smart when they’re speaking to a female client. However, much of the inside jargon they use is only comprehensible to those who studied finance or work in the industry. When this happens, female clients express feeling “stupid” or embarrassed to admit they don’t understand the service or plan offered to them.
- They address the man in the room
Opposite-sex married couples who seek out the help of a financial advisor often notice the lack of equal attention between genders. Advisors are more likely to look at and talk to the male client while barely acknowledging the woman. Documents are often given to the male first for signatures and handshakes are also extended to the male partner before the female.
- They stereotype roles by gender
Typically, financial advisors assume that women are the spenders and men are the breadwinners. They may imply or make a remark about the wife’s shopping expenses or act surprised to learn that the female partner is the one that brings home the most money. We might have left behind the checkered kitchen aprons of the 1950’s, but the assumed roles of women in society have yet to catch up with the times in many service-based spaces.
At Gates Pass Advisors, we are aware of the ongoing, unequal treatment of females in our industry. For this reason, we strive to provide equal service for all. We are proud to have a strong base of female customers and our goal is to provide a space where there is respect and effective communication regardless of your gender.