In Sweden, women own only half as much as men. The statistics are clear, but we have the power to change them. Through conscious choices and new ways of thinking, we can create a more economically equal society.

Babylonia Cimen, Private Business Adviser at SEB talks about her view of financial equality, and how she can influence and achieve it in her role .

What does economic equality mean to you?

– That everyone should have the same opportunities and conditions in terms of paid work that provides financial independence for life. Money is power and it must be distributed equally, women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives.

How can you influence it in your role?

– In my meetings with clients who live in a relationship where the couples often earn different amounts, I raise the issue and create a discussion about gender equality. The person who earns more can cover a larger percentage of the household’s expenses and I recommend that they start a savings account in the other’s name.

Babylonia describes how it is often the person with a lower salary who takes greater responsibility for children and home, such as parental days and caring for sick children. She therefore recommends that the parent with the lower income be compensated by the other with a retirement savings, and make sure to make that savings separate property to protect the money.

– Of course, each household makes its own choices. For me, it is important that they understand the long-term consequences of the choices that are made. Having an equal economy provides security, therefore it is important to highlight opportunities and solutions that make it easier to get one step closer.

What do you think are the biggest traps for not achieving financial equality?

– Sweden has historically made great progress in terms of economic equality. Yet we know that women still earn less than men, take a greater share of parental leave, work part-time to a greater extent, have more sick leave and have lower capital income.

Equality is also lacking in how public support measures are distributed. This leads to large differences in lifetime income between women and men, and is one of the biggest traps today, I think. The final pension therefore becomes in many ways a receipt of how prevailing inequality throughout life affects women’s and men’s lifetime incomes.

Babylonia Cimen, Private advisor Entrepreneur at SEB

 

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