Is Your Daughter's Allowance the Same as Your Son's? 

Aimée Lutkin Jan 31, 2019. 14 comments

The gender wage gap isn’t just a problem the work force is grappling with; it starts at home with how you treat your kids.

Statistically, the gap between what men earn over women varies depending on race and location; women of color earn significantly less than white men and white women. Women with children are also more likely to be penalized financially in the workplace, whereas fathers tend to have higher salaries that their childless counterparts.

The cause of this discrepancy is hotly debated, but most women have their own anecdotes about times they were overlooked for a promotion or discovered they made significantly less than their male co-workers. There is now further evidence that sexism is baked into how we’re taught about money—turns out, there’s even a gender wage gap among children.

Fast Company reports that a survey conducted of 1,000 parents by Giftcards.com revealed that how parents teach their kids about money is extremely gendered, and that girls in general receive far less money from gifts, chores, and allowance than boys:

For example, 61% of boys received a lesson from their parents on credit scores by the time they reached high school, compared with 46% of girls. Boys were also 9% more likely to be taught how to pay taxes, 5% more likely to be taught about bank accounts, 3% more likely to be taught about credit cards, and 2% more likely to receive an education on investing.

Boys were generally encouraged to focus on building wealth, while girls were given lessons on budgeting and tracking spending. Children also tend to receive their money lessons from the adult of the same gender, passing down lessons about money that they got from previous generations. The generations that built and maintained the wage gap.

So how do you avoid making this mistake with kids?

Question your own attitude towards money

If you’re in charge of teaching your kids about cash, be sure you’re aware of your own approach to it, and examine any internal biases you have about how you think you’re allowed to spend. Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst, told Fast Company that men tend to be “overly confident” with their investments and think they’re doing better than they are.

“The tendency for women to trade less frequently, to be more risk-adverse, and to be more focused on the long haul are byproducts of longer lifespans, the greater likelihood of having to support themselves and their children on one income, and a greater likelihood of outliving a spouse,” he says.

If you have a partner, make sure you’re on the same page and all your kids are getting the same lessons.

Make sure allowances are fair

This may seem like a no-brainer—if you have a boy and a girl who are around the same age, they should be receiving the same amount in allowance. But what seems fair as an idea isn’t always what’s actually practiced, and these numbers are startling:

The study also found that girls receive less money from their parents, with boys in high school and elementary school getting roughly $20 more on Christmas, $3 more for completing chores, and $1 more for allowance.

Do you pay your kids more for certain types of chores? Have you stratified allowances based on age, without consideration for gender? When birthdays and holidays come around, think about what kinds of gifts you’re getting for the kids as part of an overall investment in them; if you have relatives who routinely give money, make sure it’s the same amount. That might be an awkward conversation, but who gets what sends a message that can reverberate throughout your kids’ lives.

Consider your own example

Parenting is hard on its own and being stressed out by finances makes everything worse. But your kids are absorbing everything you express about money, regardless of gender. Be aware of what you say about work, cash flow, and financial problems.

“There’s so many parents who will offhandedly make these money-negative statements like, ‘We’re so broke,’ or, ‘The taxman takes everything,’ but a kid is going to take that at face value,” adds Paula Pant, the founder of AffordAnything.com. “If parents can instead make extremely thoughtful remarks, like, ‘In a year and a half we’d like to all go to Hawaii for a week, here’s how we’re thinking about it in advance,’ those types of conversations are quite useful,” she says.

This also means you can talk to them about the gender wage gap now so that they’re aware of it as they enter the workforce. Teaching boys to support girls at work is an important lesson, and everyone should learn early to advocate for themselves, negotiate, and strategize in the workplace.


Other Aimée Lutkin's posts

How to Listen Like a Hostage Negotiator How to Listen Like a Hostage Negotiator

A hostage negotiation is often a literal matter of life and death, so the experts trained to handle them really know how to listen. While it’s unlikely you’ll ever need to convince someone to come out with their hands up, there are times when we need to push ourselves to be better listeners, which is a huge part of...

Amy Schumer Is Worried About Overexposure In New Season Promo Amy Schumer Is Worried About Overexposure In New Season Promo

Because she’s everywhere. Get it?It has been a huge year for Amy Schumer. She’s been accused of stealing jokes, she finally got a boyfriend (this is a joke! Do not tweet at me!), she got called ugly a whole bunch by professionals in her industry, corrected Aaron Sorkin, and made Jennifer Lawrence her best friend. That’s pretty much my...

How to Return Those Unwanted Gifts How to Return Those Unwanted Gifts

Christmas may be over, but the holiday ceremonies are not yet complete: the day after you open all your gifts is the first day you have to send the bad ones back. Let the annual returning of the gifts begin!AmazonMost of us probably got gifts via Amazon, despite them being a demonstrably evil company . However, they are thoughtful...

This Mom Works Out by Turning Her Baby Into an Actual Barbell This Mom Works Out by Turning Her Baby Into an Actual Barbell

So many fit moms have taken up arms in the Mommy Wars. This one is using her child as the weapon.As a blogger, stories about fitness gurus documenting the slow Pangea shift of their six packs come across my computer screen frequently. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about them, though I have no baby and no aspirations...

Suggested posts

Everything You Need to Survive Back-to-School Season Everything You Need to Survive Back-to-School Season

My son starts third grade next week, and this is the first year where instead of being all, “Yay for friends and learning!” he’s more like, “yeah, school, great.” I can understand how he feels. He’s got nine months of work ahead of him and dude would rather watch reruns of Pokémon. Crash-landing from a lazy summer of camps...

Keep These Apps Off Your Kid's Phone Keep These Apps Off Your Kid's Phone

No matter how long you manage to hold them off, at some point, your kids will have their own electronic devices, and they’ll use those devices to communicate with others. First with friends and family, but eventually with strangers, too. Educating our kids about internet safety is an important and ongoing part of keeping them safe, but parents also...

How to Encourage Kindness in Kids How to Encourage Kindness in Kids

We teach our kids kindness by modeling kindness ourselves, talking to them about kindness, and praising them when we catch them being kind. We can also teach it with fuzzy pom-pom balls. One teacher shared with Edutopia that when she added a Kindness Jar and a pile of pom-poms to her classroom, her students began arguing less, helping each...

Find Hundreds of Science Experiment Ideas in 'Scientific American' Find Hundreds of Science Experiment Ideas in 'Scientific American'

A big part of being a kid is building things, deconstructing things and, in general, discovering how things work—that’s why we buy those starter science experiment kits and toy microscopes to encourage their curiosity. But it’s easy to run out of ideas to keep them interested in science, especially as they get older. Luckily for parents, Scientific American has...

Teach Your Kid That Every Task Has a Beginning, Middle and End Teach Your Kid That Every Task Has a Beginning, Middle and End

If I’m trying to help my six-year-old daughter Maggie become a more organized thinker, my instruction seems to be coming too late. “There are board game pieces everywhere,” I’ll tell her, having noticed the scene hours after she’s fled it and moved onto three different activities. As someone who currently has bookmarks in about seven different novels, I may...

How to Measure Your Kid's Attachment to Screens How to Measure Your Kid's Attachment to Screens

From the first time we prop them in front of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to scarf down our dinner in peace to when they lock themselves in their room to play Fortnite for hours on end, parents are frequently asking themselves, “How much is too much screen time?”Whether or not kids can truly become addicted to screens (in the same...

Don't Ignore These Non-Traditional Parenting Milestones Don't Ignore These Non-Traditional Parenting Milestones

We’re sort of conditioned as parents to put a lot of weight into the traditional milestones: The first tooth and the first bite of solid food. First words, first steps, first day of school. And, yes, these are all great (although the week leading up to the first tooth isn’t particularly pleasant). But in the nearly nine years I’ve...

Interview Your Kid After the First Day of School Interview Your Kid After the First Day of School

There’s something so hopeful about first-day-of-school photos: clothes look a little brighter than usual (possibly because you’ve ripped the tags off just an hour before), backpacks seem massive enough to topple your children right over, and if you’re especially creative, chalkboards or whiteboards display a sweet little interview to capture this moment in time. (When asked what she wanted...

Create Rainy Day Activity Bags for Your Kids Create Rainy Day Activity Bags for Your Kids

I’m all about letting kids be bored (it’s good for them) and responsible for their own entertainment (they have a ton of toys), but once in a while, it’s nice to provide them with a little inspiration. Especially when they’ve been stuck inside for the past few days because of bad weather and they’re practically climbing the walls (and...

Make a 'Homework Mat' for Your Kid Make a 'Homework Mat' for Your Kid

One thing I don’t like about homework for young kids is the fact that after they’ve just spent a whole day sitting at a desk at school, we direct them to another desk at home. It’s inhibiting. Their bodies are wiggly and restless and begging to move.That’s why when my kid heads back to school, I’m going to create...