There are 4 times as many unemployed women as men: Here’s how a prenup will make a difference.
During an unprecedented global pandemic, 1.1 million Americans left the workforce in the month of September 2020. Of that number, only 216,000 were men, while 865,000 were women.
That means that there are four times the number of women unemployed or looking for work compared to the number of men doing the same.
Of those women, 324,000 are Latina and 58,000 are Black.
Adding to these concerning statistics is the gender pay gap. Currently, in 2020, women only make about $0.81 on every dollar that a man earns. This means that the median annual salary for men is about 19% higher than the median salary for women.
Let those numbers sink in for a minute.
Why is this happening? Is it because more women “willingly” left the workforce? Why are women being paid less? How is that legal? We aren’t statisticians, but it’s hard to imagine that almost a million women willingly left the workforce within the past year. So what’s going on? Ladies, here’s what the facts are saying and what you can do to protect yourselves.
Step 1: Create financial protection
The pandemic has been exceptionally hard on women. These facts point to obvious issues within organizational pay structures, and how society views women’s roles. While the unemployment numbers from September do not give us detail into whether those who left the workforce were let go or quit, we do know that many women have been forced to make changes to their work schedule, or even to leave their jobs entirely, in order to accommodate their childcare duties and remote learning programs. Even in situations where children are only going into school for a couple of days out of the week, mothers can face challenges in accommodating to- and from- school transport for their children. To add insult to injury, maintaining engagement and keeping children on-track during a virtual school day comes with its own set of challenges- making it essential that at least one parent is present to assist. Who has been assuming that role lately, 9 times out of 10? The mother. A prenup can save you from financial hardship by ensuring that you don’t go without an income in the event of a divorce. Alimony, or financial support that a person is ordered by a court to give to their spouse during separation or following divorce, is specifically designed to protect you from financial hardship. Don’t skip this crucial topic when discussing with your partner. It may save you a whole lot of potential hardship.
Step 2: Represent yourselves equally in your prenup
Let’s take a look back in history. Women have been fighting for equal rights in the workplace for some time. When women first entered the workforce, it was typically in mass numbers within factory walls for very little pay. After legislation regarding workers’ rights was passed during the Progressive Era, women eventually moved into office jobs where they were predominantly placed in administrative and assistant roles. It wasn’t until the women’s labor movements of the 1960s and 1970s that significant numbers of women began to enter the workforce more regularly and work their way into higher positions within companies. However, there is still work to be done, even today. According to AmericanProgress.com, as of 2018 women only made up 5% of Fortune 500’s list of CEOs, regardless of the fact that they earn more than 57% of undergraduate degrees and 59% of all master’s degrees.
Why? Unfortunately, when it comes to domestic tasks like child-rearing household chores, American society still seems to cling on to the last leg of the mid-20th century “Mad Men” era of gender roles. Though we are speaking broadly and situations differ between individuals, it’s obvious that corporate structures as a whole were not designed for women, and in many cases, deter women. Examples of this include a lack of adequate breastfeeding areas in (most) offices, being one of the only developed countries that lack government-mandated paid maternity leave, and no state funded child care in place. As the average monthly cost of childcare in New York State and California hovers around the four-figure mark it’s simply impossible for many families to consider sending their children to daycare. So, who’s career suffers? Usually, the mother. Ladies, this means that it’s essential to protect yourself if society cannot protect you for you. Prenups are designed to keep things equal. If society is not going to treat you equally, you have the opportunity to be represented equally in a divorce with a prenup. By utilizing these foundational conversations with your partner, you set yourself up for a seamless transition without having to be set back by any means.
Step 3: Prevent “inherited debt”
As many women are already bearing the brunt of child-rearing and adjusting to virtual learning, a prenup can help in protecting them from potential financial burdens from an irresponsible spouse. Prenup provisions can address protecting individuals from the individual debts of their spouses – including debts incurred from addictions like gambling or compulsive shopping. Astonishingly, a whopping 2.6% of the American population is estimated to suffer from some sort of gambling addiction. Issues like these often cause significant emotional and financial stress on a marriage. Additional burdens include excessive spending, credit card debts, or any major purchases that not have been authorized by both of you during your marriage. If you plan to share everything equally during your lives together forever, remember that the odds are not in your favor that you will remain the same person you are today.
So what can we walk away with from this video besides crazy stats to share with maybe one or two friends? Prenups can provide life-altering protection for women. Period. With society still inching its way to gender equality, there are individual milestones that women should take in order to protect themselves in the meantime. Prenups are essential to ensure that if you decide to be a stay at home mom for a couple years, and your partner decides to divorce you, that alimony, or another financial cushion is there to protect you financially so you don’t have to worry about paying the bills because you decided to take one for the team and stay home to watch the kids (amongst a pandemic that inevitably gave you no choice), with the added stress of looking for a job amongst a workforce that doesn’t value women equally.
Prenups are there in case your spouse decides to acquire an excessive spending or gambling habit and accrues unauthorized debt under your name since you’re both considered “one” now. Protect yourself from added burdens placed upon you that set you back even farther than you would have been prior to ever getting married.
For those of you saying “wait a minute, if I don’t get a prenup, and I live in a 50/50 community property state, I don’t need a prenup because I will just get half of my partner’s assets and call it a day.”
The average contested divorce (meaning one party is denying or prolonging the request or taking issue with the terms of the divorce) takes about 1-2 years to finalize, depending on what state you live in. So, for those of you who are saying “yeah I’ll just take half of my partner’s stuff and run,” let’s think about 12 months of bills, plus 12 months of childcare, plus 12 months of emotional hardship, 12 months of attorneys fees, and a whole lot of trauma for the kids because now you’re splitting their roof between two households. Or, you could just get a prenuptial agreement in NY, NJ, PA, IL or MA with HelloPrenup before ever getting married that allows you and your fiancé to decide beforehand what should happen in the event of divorce.
Lastly, to keep it totally equal – fellas: if you care about the ladies in your life, talk to them about equality. It’s the best step you can take to help close the gap and help make a significant difference in all women’s lives. Now, one up yourself, and talk to all your fellow fellas about gender equality. It takes all of us to make this right. Besides, alimony might end up protecting you in the end anyways if you decide to flip the script and be a stay at home dad.
To get started on your HelloPrenup and start protecting yourself today, head over to HelloPrenup.com and create an account with your partner. It’s free to sign-up and gives you and your partner the ability to discuss crucial steps to ensure that you are taken care of no matter what event occurs with means for a divorce. We walk you through everything necessary to make sure that both of you are represented equally – financially and emotionally.
Need more information? Send us a note at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you. Ciao!
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].