As women, if we have learned anything from the pandemic, it is that women are often providing more domestic duties. A recent LinkedIn post referenced Beyonce and said something to the effect of, “Do you think when Beyonce was making Lemonade, she did not have to work hard and examine outside priorities?” A comment on this post stated, “We understand but, with most women their outside priorities are spouse and children. So, what do we do about them? Axe them?” In that same vein, survivor Rachael Denhollander, in the victim impact statement she read at the trial of Dr. Larry Nassar, posed the unforgettable question, “What is a little girl worth?” 

I believe it is time we as women take a really hard look at that question, both for ourselves and our daughters. We must learn to negotiate for resources and teach young women to do it also. We must demand that we are financially empowered and that our domestic duties are recognized and valued. We must stop being iron-jawed martyrs. Instead, we must start piecing together ways to demand financial empowerment, security, and respect for our non-economic contributions. 

Where do we start? Gain an understanding of your personal finances and do it early. Understand debt to income ratio and what lenders examine to determine your creditworthiness.  Separate emotions and economics. Understand and teach other women that being in a romantic relationship does not mean giving away access to financial resources. You do not need your significant other to manage your finances just because you are romantically involved. Make sure you take an active role in your financial situation. Know where money is held, (i.e., which banking institutions and financial institutions). If you are married, make sure you have access to bank accounts and credit cards. Understand what debt is owed on assets and the general estimated value of your assets.    

Contemplate and have transparent conversations with your significant other about how both of you will handle finances and the division of child-rearing duties. Teach women that love consists of having direct conversations on these important topics.

Prenuptial agreements are not just for the ultra-wealthy; they can also help couples determine what would be a fair division of domestic duties in their future. If you do enter into a prenuptial agreement, make sure that it: (1) clearly states what separate property you brought into the marriage and (2) contemplates how you will be compensated for the potential financial impact of pregnancy, childbirth, resulting reduction in income-earning capacity, as well as any exiting the workforce to act as a caretaker.

Protect yourself, your spouse, and your children with life insurance policies. Make sure your policy amounts take into consideration the replacement of each spouse’s: (1) income-earning capacity and (2) domestic obligations.  

Last but not least, support other women. Listen to Lizzo and Beyonce on repeat. Support female-owned businesses and artists that reflect and align with your female empowerment values.  After all, financial empowerment is female empowerment! 

Lisa Gill, founder of Gill Family Law and Graygill Consulting, provides 19 years of law and business savvy coupled with simplified, digestible how-to for a wide range of clients from women going through divorce to small business owners wanting to protect their assets for generations. With a streamlined process that utilizes modern efficiency tactics, Lisa gives clients the greatest advantage from the start, handling family-centered cases focused on divorce, child custody/parental issues, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, LGBTQ+ family law, families with mental health and/or addiction issues, and family-owned businesses. Through Graygill Consulting, Lisa helps executive-minded, entrepreneurial women reenter the workforce by reestablishing their professional network through creating forums and networks for them to connect, gain support, and flourish. Lisa’s personal experience working with a lawyer when she went through a tax audit on her own business, as well as working with the legal system through her divorce, inspired her to get into the industry. These cases equipped her to better represent business owners and women in divorce cases as she can deeply empathize with their struggles, issues, and concerns. She’s a passionate advocate for improving the experience of domestic violence survivors and for improving the experience of all families in the court systems. Her firm is a safe haven, allowing clients to heal mentally, while guiding them through life-changing legal matters, and ensuring every detail of the process is finely-tuned, including the redesign of her law office which exudes a refreshed day spa ambiance. Lisa has a bachelor’s in paralegal studies, a Juris Doctor of Law from the University of Memphis, and is licensed in both Mississippi and Tennessee with additional relocation and international cases. She’s the incoming chair for the Tennessee Bar Association, the director for the Memphis Bar Association, and on the executive board for Leadership Germantown. Her two biggest accolades include becoming a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and being board certified as a family law trial specialist in Tennessee. Lisa is married and has an adult son. In her free time, she loves a great challenge that expands her knowledge and likes to golf.