March 04, 2024 | Sandra Pierce


I had no idea the word curmudgeon had a gendered connotation. Apparently, it’s used to describe men, usually ill-tempered grumpy old men. So do not call me a curmudgeon –refer to me as a termagant, the appropriate word to describe a bad tempered or angry woman.

I am an angry woman. One who gets more so as International Woman’s Day (IWD) approaches. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for gender equality and empowerment and it’s always fun to have a day where one can get together to celebrate and support something. But really, is there all that much to celebrate when it comes to women’s advancement?

Take wage disparity between men and women. In the US, according to Pew Research Center, women earned 70% of men’s earnings in 2023, having grown to 80% of men’s earnings today.

Women in Canada have fared better. According to the most recent StatsCan data from 2021, on average, women workers earn 11.1% less than men. In other words, for every $1 a man makes a woman makes eighty-nine cents, an increase of 21½% from thirty years ago when we earned 73.3 cents for every dollar.

Although, female employees at Canadian banks and financial institutions earn 18.4% less per hour in wages than their male colleagues, according to newly released data by the federal government.

It impacts all life stages --- according to Girl Guides of Canada – girls 12 to 18 experience a summer job gender pay gap of almost $3.00 per hour. Women post-secondary students leave school with student loans to pay and lesser means to do so as reported by Canadian Women’s Foundation. And it contributes to a gendered pension gap of 22%, where women retire with only about 80% of the pension men retire with (Mercer CFA Institute, 2021)

Gloria Steinem, considered the world’s most famous feminist for her work in the Women’s Liberation Movement of the1970s, recently noted that a missed opportunity of the feminist movement was their failure to focus on wealth building.

She got me thinking that it’s time we spend less time focusing on fighting for financial equality and more time focusing on what we have control over – building our wealth.

Let’s look at what we could have achieved if we had put our energy towards investing. Thirty years ago, putting $10,000 in the S&P500 with dividends reinvested would have delivered a total return of 1,747.68% or close to $184,768.26. It’s a big difference between a 21 % “pay raise” over the same period.

But let’s say you couldn’t invest a lump sum but used dollar cost averaging, investing monthly instead you’d still have an impressive sum of $171,532.38.


While focusing on closing the gender gap is crucial for creating a more equitable world, there is another way to get there and so much could be accomplished by turning our focus to wealth building.

  • Financial Independence – Wealth building secures your financial future regardless of external circumstances and provides a sense of security, freedom and control over one’s life and decisions.
  • Creating Opportunities – Whether it’s starting a business, investing in education, supporting causes one is passionate about, or taking care of families, wealth provides the resources to turn aspirations into reality.
  • Shifting the Narrative – Focusing solely on closing the gender gap could perpetuate the narrative of women as victims of systematic inequalities. By shifting the emphasis on wealth building, women can shift the narrative towards empowerment.
  • Leading By Example – When women prioritize financial success and independence, they serve as role models for future generations.

The words of French philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir, have never been more prescient: “Never forget that it only takes a single political, economic or religious crisis for women’s rights to be called into question.”

As Gloria Steinem so eloquently put, “When women have more power, they have more money. Is there a greater threat to the patriarchy than that?” By prioritizing financial wealth accumulation, we can pave the way for a more inclusive and empowered future.

So, embrace your inner termagant this International Women’s Day, and let’s start talking money. In the words of the late Herbert V. Prochnow, U.S. banking executive, noted toastmaster and writer during the middle 20th century... “When money talks, there are few interruptions.”