Talking about money is not 'crass' or unfeminine, it's necessary

Talking about money is not ‘crass’ or unfeminine, it’s necessary

“I’m of the belief that discussing people’s pay and contracts is crass and unhelpful”.

This was a quote in the Sunday paper by soon-to-be Today Show co-host Georgie Gardner and upon reading these words I was immediately disappointed.

For years now, I’ve been on a mission to point out that money is one of society, and particularly women’s last taboos.

Nice girls don’t talk about it and we certainly don’t own up to wanting more of it. Which is why I was so disappointed to read Georgie so publicly state that talking about money and contracts is crass.

Once upon a time that crass subject, that taboo word was sex. Thanks to Sex and the City and other books and movies that dealt with it irreverently and cleverly somehow sex became OK to talk about. Not just over cocktails where you hoped you wouldn’t remember the conversation in the morning but over brunch. Sure, you might not talk about it with your mum but somehow the ick was removed from sex because the shame was lifted simply by bringing the subject out into the light of day and talking about all of it: not just the polite parts.

I for one, would love money to be given the same treatment.

The problem is, I already know so many women who truly believe that talking about money is crass. That it’s impolite to talk about finances to friends, loved ones or colleagues. That it’s unfeminine for women to discuss cash and particularly wanting more of it. It’s a judgement I rally against on an almost daily basis when working with clients, when speaking to groups and when writing about money.

What we need are more women willing to talk openly and honestly about money, not making judgement calls on whether it’s OK.

It’s why I was so disappointed that Georgie chose to use the word crass. It’s not a word we use every day and it means that the person shows no intelligence or sensitivity.  The Merrian-Webster definition goes so far as to define crass as having or indicating such grossness of mind as precludes delicacy and discrimination; being beneath one’s dignity; to be guided by or indicative of base or materialistic values. The meaning is so full of judgement, so full of indignation and outrage at the impoliteness of the subject.

Now, there are many words Georgie could have used. She could have suggested she preferred to keep her contract private or she could have stated that she preferred to discuss her role and not the wage she’s being paid. But to suggest that talking about wages, contracts and money was crass?

I mean, seriously.

How is suggesting that wage conversations are crass when they’re helping women to speak up about their own pay issues?

This is why I propose that women don’t shy away from the debate but instead, we own that word: crass. I propose that women become crass and classless and choose to talk about money. Let’s embrace our vulgarity and choose to have deep and serious conversations about cash. After all, if we’re going to be financially resilient, financially well and ever to close the gender gap then perhaps we need to roll around in the gutter together.

I mean, women everywhere, let’s get fucking serious and talk about money.

Melissa Browne is CEO of accounting firm A&TA and financial planning firm The Money Barre. Her latest book ‘Unf*ck your Finances’ will be released Jan 2018.




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