As a middle class millenial, conversation about identity and “privilege” is something that has been swirling around me constantly for a good few years. Still, the feminist cause is very much at the forefront of the wider public consciousness in the West too at the moment. There’s the #metoo movement of course. And in the UK, 2018 marks 100 years since Parliament passed a law which allowed the first women to vote.
At work, there is also a real push to promote women further and faster. I do have some misgivings about who that really benefits (mostly privileged, middle class women from what I’ve seen – intersectionality, anyone?). Still, I’m quite happy to call myself a feminist. After all, who can really argue with equality? So far so good. The thing is, though, there’s only so far that mere advocacy can go:
You change existing systems with disruption not protest. Existing power structures always resist change. If you think taxis are a bad gig, you don’t lobby for cheaper taxis; you start Uber. Taylor Pearson
The “underdog” narrative which underpins much of the debate can inadvertently cast women into a passive protest role. Not exactly the feminist spirit if you ask me. So why not disrupt the system instead?
(Enter Financial Independence, stage left.)
The Financially Independent feminist doesn’t need to complain about the cards they’ve been dealt. FI means you get to pick your own cards. Hell, it means you get to play a whole different game if you want to:
- Money is power. Whether we like it or not, money is a tool to make things happen i.e. a source of power. If feminism is about challenging an imbalance of power, then there are worse places to start than with finances.
- Negotiate with strength in the workplace. The common wisdom is that women are less willing to negotiate pay rises. I’ve no idea if there’s any scientific truth to that, but hey – knowing you can walk away is crucial to any meaningful negotiation. Financial Independence gives you that.
- The cold, hard maths of Financial Independence. Compound interest doesn’t care about your genitals. Enough said.
- FI is about personal responsibility. Changing society for the better is a worthwhile goal. However, we should all focus first and foremost on what’s within our control. If all of us were to do that, well “there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families” – surely that would add up to a positive change?
What do you think? Does FI sit well with feminism? Is there anything unfeminist about FI?