It's hard to dispute that women have a tougher time getting ahead in certain sectors than men. While there's certainly an argument that those with a strong will can succeed in anything, the stats often show that females are underrepresented or undervalued in some areas.
In recent years, one of the major talking points has been the gender pay gap. Following the publication of average hourly earnings in April 2019, we know that 78% of the country's largest companies had a gender pay gap in favour of men. That's a problem in and of itself. However, an indirect and possibly overlooked consequence of women earning less than their male counterparts relates to mortgages.
The Property Ladder Isn't Easy to Climb
Anyone trying to get on the UK property ladder will know that it's tough regardless of gender. With the average house price now more than £226,000 and lenders being tighter than they once were, everyone may struggle. Something we do know, however, is that women have had it slightly tougher. In 2015, one in ten women claimed they faced discrimination when applying for a mortgage.
According to NAWRB, the biggest barrier to entry for women trying to get a mortgage is pay. With the gender pay gap meaning women have lower annual incomes, lenders often see them as less desirable candidates. On top of that, motherhood is an issue. Although unsaid, there has long been a perception that female mortgage applicants are discriminated against if they plan to have a baby. In essence, if they're likely to have a long period of time off work or working reduced hours, lenders see them as a greater risk.
Use Every Tool Available
As we know from other walks of life, becoming a mother shouldn't exclude you from anything. However, in the cutthroat world of finance, these types of issues still exist. With that being the case, you need to know your options. Today, there is more information and resources out there than ever before. Simply knowing what a lender offers can help you improve your chances of being accepted for a mortgage. For example, Coventry Building Society is rated as a more consumer-friendly lender than most.
As outlined by online broker Trussle, Coventry mortgage customers had fewer complaints compared to other lenders. The site says that, between July and December 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) upheld complaints from just 0.1% of Coventry customers. That's significantly lower than the national average of 0.4%. Although that doesn't mean you're more likely to be approved for a mortgage by Coventry Building Society, it does suggest the company has a desire to be a friendly lender. This, in turn, could give you a better chance of getting the money you need.
Beyond making your own assumptions, mortgage calculators are now more advanced than ever. By using sophisticated algorithms, brokers can process live data. The benefit of this is that the calculators can make suggestions and continually refine them. Taking into account lending rates, approval rates, house prices and more, the software makes it easier to find a suitable deal in the moment. Again, this technology doesn't guarantee you'll get accepted. But any time you can get an edge, you should take it.
We are living in a time when women are rising to new heights which means they are regularly being confronted with the fear of being "too much". For women in business this is pervasive and costly.
A few ways women can be perceived as "too much" are:
Speaking up about their successes and achievements.
Sharing one too many photos of their cute kids.
Telling one too many people about that date night.
Looking a little too good in that swimsuit.
These can lead to being publicly attacked on social media or privately slandered which in turn leads to women dimming their light and walking on egg shells in hopes of avoiding conflict and judgement.
The minute a woman feels it's unsafe to shine she will begin to overthink, worry, and fear how she shows up in the world.
Forgetting to announce the book is done and the interview is live.
Choosing to focus on what's still on the to-do list rather than what's been checked off.
Many female entrepreneurs are subconsciously altering their behavior in an attempt to not attract too much attention to themselves, rather than focusing on allowing authenticity and magnetism to attract their ideal clients and community.
Women are afraid of being criticized, ostracized, and abandoned by other women for simply being who they are. This leads to quite the quantum when being who you are is simplest way to accelerate the growth of your business.
New research shows men are far more comfortable with self promotion than women are. Researchers found that men rate their own performance 33 percent higher than equally performing women. What we know is that self promotion pays off and this is where women are missing the boat.
The world needs more women to step into leadership roles and no longer be intimidated about creating six and seven figure careers.
Here are five ways to release the fear of being "too much":
1. Approve of yourself.
While it feels good to receive outside validation it will never be enough if you don't first appreciate yourself. The key to having a healthy support system is to make sure you are part of it. Being your biggest critic is what your mother's generation did. It's now time to be your biggest cheerleader. Becoming aware of self talk will reveal what belief is ready to be re-wired. Create a simply mantra that affirms how incredible capable you are.
2. Connect deeply to those you serve.
One powerful way to shift out of people pleasing behavior is to get clear on who actually matters to the wellbeing and success of your life and business. Leadership is not about being the most popular, instead it's a decision to be brave for those who can't be. Take a few minutes each day to visualize and meditate on those your business serves and supports. See your future clients moving toward you every time you choose to stand in your power and use your authentic voice.
3. Remember the legacy you wish to leave.
Having your life purpose and legacy in writing is one of the most transformational exercises you can do. Reading this often will keep you focused on what matters. Knowing what you wish to leave in the hearts of those you love most is incredibly grounding. You didn't come here to keep your mouth shut, dilute your truth, or dim your light-you came here to make a difference.
4. Forgive those who have been unsupportive in the past.
The past has a way of informing the future in a negative way when there is unresolved pain. Take a few minutes to get quiet and ask yourself who you have unforgiveness towards or maybe their name came to mind as you read this article. Listening to a forgiveness meditation or writing a letter to the person you are ready to forgive are both simple and effective ways to process and heal.
5. Be part a community of bright, successful women.
Meaningful relationships with others who have similar aspirations is what will keep you out of isolation and playing small. These connections can happen in a networking group, online community or a local Meetup. Thriving in every area of life is depend on you knowing where you belong and being celebrated there. Don't wait to be invited, go actively seek out people and places that support your dreams and desires.
6. Accept you can have it all.
Women have been fed a lie for generations that says, you can have love or money. Decide you can have it all and allow it to flow to you. You can have a successful career and an amazing mother. You can balance motherhood and loving marriage. Don't let anyone write the rules for you. This is the time to create the life you desire on your terms.
7. Celebrate everything!
The fastest way to leave the haters in the dust is to celebrate everything! At the end of each day lay in bed and recall the best moments. At the end of each week, publicly acknowledge and celebrate what's good in your life. Once a month, have a celebration dinner and share it with those who have helped you in the journey. If there's something good happening, talk about it with everyone who will listen!
May you be a woman who chooses to shine so that others may be reminded of all they can be and do.