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Celebrating Women's Independence

Posted on August 1, 2019

By Lynn Yeakel

As our nation celebrated its independence on July 4, I was reminded of the importance of women's independence, my gratitude to my parents for instilling this message in me at an early age, and the ways our independence may be defined and measured.

At the core is financial independence. A century ago, women could not own property, and it was only in the 1970s that we were able to get credit cards in our own names.

Today, an estimated 90 percent of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives, underscoring the importance of financial planning early on. I was encouraged to hear of a recent study that found millennial women are not just taking financial independence seriously, they're outpacing men their age even with added hurdles related to gender discrimination.

A demonstration of women's independence is knowing your worth, something that is the heart of Mika Brzezinski's Know Your Value platform, which urges women to be bold when it comes to navigating business culture to growing their careers to running for office, and much more. Although many of us have heard about the concept of the "confidence gap" between women and men, research suggests there isn't much of a gap after all. Women are as confident in their abilities as men, but they do not always express it because societal stereotypes related to gender paint confident women as troublesome. It's a fear of backlash, not a lack of confidence, that prevents women from self-promoting, even when they truly know what they bring to the table.

Although Independence Day is behind us, I challenge every woman to think about what independence looks like in her own life and how to advance it. One of my favorite quotes is "You get what you settle for." We don't have to settle for less than we deserve.