Transcription: Segment 3
Paul Winkler: This is the Investor Coaching Show, and I am Paul Winkler, your host. We talk about the world of money and investing right here on the Investor Coaching Show. Let’s see if we can pull off getting remotely on the show and begin. So we wanted to try this to see if we can pull Anne Sawasky on here and talk a little bit about some ladies’ topics because it’s actually, what big month is it?
Anne Sawasky: Yeah, this is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. So I just felt like we should at least bring it up a little bit and talk about what kind of changes economically that has led to for our country and women in general.
Women’s suffrage and the economy
Paul Winkler: Yeah, I think it would be interesting because there have been a lot of changes over the past one hundred years. So it’s interesting because you don’t really know necessarily stock market wise, how things have changed because the data that we have on the stock market only goes back 94 years. So we literally don’t have data prior to that particular point in time that’s all that reliable, but we do have economic information. We do kind of see what the difference has been and how the voting patterns have changed over the years. What, what have you found in your research regarding that? I’m curious what you’ve found?
Anne Sawasky: Well, I mean, I wasn’t really getting into the voting patterns at all, but what I was just interested in was just a couple of things. And one is just if you look back legally, because I’m a lawyer, so if you look at what women’s rights were or were not in the 19th century, in the United States, which isn’t that long ago, really, they women really couldn’t go into higher education, couldn’t go into most professions. There was a common law principle of law that was in the US that basically, when a woman married, she lost all control over her finances. Her wages went to her husband. She couldn’t own property in her own name. Yeah.
Paul Winkler: That’s a huge deal. I mean, and that was prior to this, prior to a hundred years ago.
Anne Sawasky: Right. So that’s, I just wanted to kind of start with that as the starting point, because you don’t really think about that. And then keep in mind too, in the 19th century, one 10th of the US female population were slaves.
Paul Winkler: That’s mind boggling to me. Cause, you know, reminds me of, remember that old ad for Virginia Slims cigarettes, “You’ve come a long way. And that, that is a huge, huge stride.”
Anne Sawasky: Wow. Right, right. So, I mean, I don’t think that we really think too much these days about where women were, you know, 150 years ago, you know, in the United States and how much it’s changed. So now the significance of women’s suffragists is a good part of that because what ended up happening was women. Again, they didn’t have a right to vote.
A bit of history
So the interesting thing was, I was reading an article about women who were working in the very early part of the 20th century. So this would be like 1910 or something like that. And most women at that time who were working were underneath, or they were under the age of 20 and they would have, they just had, because women really, as a group, didn’t work at that time as a general rule, the women who were working typically were in this younger age group that they weren’t yet married yet, so they were kind of like teenagers really, who hadn’t really married yet.
And then all of their income went to the family because back then, that is what you did. I mean, you contributed everything to the family, you know, if you were at home and the large majority of them were at home. And so what ended up happening was they were mostly residing with their parents. And many of them were just working here and there, or they would work for a period of time because they would be in the short term things, like maybe sewing, for example, in the garment district or something, maybe that would last a few months and then they’d get laid off because the season was done or whatever.
And they didn’t make a living wage either. So the wages that they made were much less than men and they didn’t really worry about it because these people were working at or living at home and they were, it was kind of viewed as a temporary thing. So the problem with that though, is that, you know, if you’re single and you don’t get married and you don’t have those opportunities for regular employment at that time, and you’re in these very, very low paying things, you could imagine the poverty rate for single women at that time.
Paul Winkler: Oh, sure. Yeah. And I think back to my aunt, because my aunt came here from England when she was five years old, never got rid of her accent. It was the most interesting thing. I mean, she literally, she passed away, I think she was in her mid-eighties when she passed, late eighties, mid-eighties, something like that, and she held an English accent all the way up to that point in time, but only had her first five years of life in England, which is just mind boggling me. But I’ll never forget when my uncle passed away, she was probably 65 years old, and she had to learn how to drive.
And it was just that whole dependence type of a thing. And it’s so different now simply because we’d look around the country, and I believe that there is a greater percentage of college graduates right now—correct me if I’m wrong—I think are women versus men.
Anne Sawasky: Yeah, that’s correct. That’s correct. Yeah. And again, remember, 150 years ago, almost no women were allowed to go to college or if they did go to college, they were very unusual. Like actually my great aunt, she was one of the first women in Wisconsin to graduate from pharmacy school. And this was back in like the 1910s or 1920s or something like that.
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Women and the war effort
It was extraordinarily unusual for a woman to be in a professional career at that time. So getting back to the point that you had these very, very low paying jobs and they were normally temporary in nature and they weren’t living wages. So this is what ended up spearheading a lot of the women’s suffrage movement because they ended up trying to get better wages and better rights. And then they did end up being very involved in helping out with the war effort in World War I. So when that happened was Woodrow Wilson, who was president at that time, he had been resisting the women’s vote movement, but in 1918, he was forced to acknowledge that the women’s contribution to the war effort had earned them the right to vote. And he said, the Senate, the US had fought for democracy, and that meant women should have the right to play their part in affairs, alongside men, and with equal footing, because he said, “We admit them only to partnership of sacrifice and suffering and toil and not to the partnership of privilege and right.”
So they did pass the women’s right to vote. And of course we can all debate on some of the good and bad political things that have come from the way women have voted through the years. I like some of them, I don’t like others, you know, but women are, as a block, significant in that, as women, we’re able to get more rights and get into the workplace.
And this is my point is it’s affected the economy. And I think that’s what makes it interesting, because if you look for example, women in the labor force since 1920, really, there was, what 8 million women in the labor force in 1920. In 2020, there’s 78, almost 79 million women. And in 1920, 52% of women were clerks, secretaries, maids, teachers, waitresses.
Women and the economy
Paul Winkler: And what would hits me as you’re going through this, and you’re talking about this, what really hits me, I didn’t think of it until just now, but you think about all of a sudden, now you have the right to vote. Politicians must pay attention to what you want. And then since they’ve got to pay attention to what you want, now you have a voice and now you start to get into the workforce in a bigger way than you have before. And I think the biggest benefit if I were to put my finger on the biggest benefit of that, which has helped propel the United States versus other countries around the world is, think about what causes our economy to jump forward.
In the early 1990s, it was, we had this new computer technology that came along, that increased productivity. What could increase productivity more than having half of the population of the country, all of a sudden able to get into the workforce?
Anne Sawasky: That’s exactly where I’m going with this, Paul, because we went from, in 1920, pretty much women having very menial jobs to 2018, I should say the difference is that women in those menial jobs has gone down to like—and again, don’t take, don’t take this wrong, no job is a bad job. All jobs are valuable. So I don’t want you to get offended by that. And so I’m just saying though, lower paying jobs is probably a better way to put it, but the amount of women in management, for example, and professional jobs, and basically it’s gone up dramatically. So that the amount of women’s, the top ten occupations for women now, they’re, teachers, nurses, nursing, psychiatric, first line supervisors, managers, self-employed.
Women in the workforce
So there’s much less of the women in the workplace that are in lower paying jobs, which means that not only are their families doing better and certainly they’re doing better if they’re single than they were in the past. But as you’re saying, that country does better because there’s more people to work more job creation, greater investment. And here’s the thing.
There was an article there was called the Borgen project, how women’s rights drive economic development. And they say that the McKinsey Global Institute found that if every country advanced toward equal gender or women’s rights of these sorts, the worldwide GDP would rise by $12 trillion.
It’s actually kind of mind boggling and saying that closing the gender, the labor force gap between men and women by just 25% would result in a hundred million new jobs for women by 2025. And in some nations removing legal obstacles for women entering the workforce would raise economic output in those countries by 25%.
Paul Winkler: Yeah. See, and I look at it and go, one of the biggest issues we’re dealing with is a demographic issue. And there you go, you have a huge group of people that can be tapped right there around the world. If you look at the United States, 39%. I saw this statistic, 39% of all privately held firms are women-owned. That’s that’s mind boggling one in five firms with a million in revenue plus are women owned. It’s a huge group of people. And around the world, I think there’s the rest of the world could do a lot to catch up.
And I think it would be a big boom. And you know, a lot of things that we worry about that we’re concerned about, we can get spread around the world. I think it would be a great thing. Hey, a little trivia for you. You know what the Dow was when the women’s suffrage movement started, when the right to vote was passed. You know what? The Dow was $86.50.
It’s been a great boom all the way around, right?
That’s it for the Investor Coaching Show today, following along with Anne Sawasky, financial planner with us here in the Nashville market, hope you enjoyed it.
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