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'Until the gender pay gap closes, I'm happy being a gold digger.'

I think I might be a gold digger, but not in the way you'd imagine. My boyfriend isn't 40 years older than me, and he isn't a millionaire, but I value financial security in a partner. 

It's something I've always actively searched for and considered necessary. Why? Because men earn more than women, and I'm aware that getting financially ahead as a woman is a bloody hard slog! 

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, women typically earn $25,000 a year less than men. According to Australian Super - to break it down further - on average, women earn $241 less a week than men and retire with 42 per cent less superannuation. 

Basically, it still pays to be a man. Yet we still judge women for trying to obtain financial security through romantic relationships. 

Watch: The gender pay gap, explained. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

Now, I should stress that I think it's very important for women to have their own careers and make sure they have a skill that means they can always support themselves.

You never want to be entirely financially dependent on a man, at least not if you can help it. I think it's important to know you could leave any relationship and be able to provide for yourself just fine. 

I am also happy to be part of a team that works towards securing financial stability, I’d even be prepared be the primary earner but unfortunately, according to the stats, as a woman, I’m way more likely to earn less. 

Because if we are talking about getting ahead, if you want to do more than just pay for rent and the occasional splurge, partnering with a man is probably the way to go. Alone, the battle is all uphill. 

Now, it shouldn't be like this, but the financial odds just aren't in my favour. The figures are literally staring me in the face. Women earn less than men, and it's unfair and awful but not changing anytime soon. 

The World Economic Forum estimates that at the current rate of progress, the gender gap will end in 267.6 years. 

I would imagine this opinion is probably making you uncomfortable as you read it. Why? Because it seems so absurd that in 2022 the easiest way for women to actually get ahead financially is still by pairing up. Depressing, right? 

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But it's the uncomfortable truth. It doesn't matter how hard I work, how much I girl boss, and what I sacrifice. It's more likely the guy I'm chatting with on Tinder is earning more than me, oh, and he doesn't even have to have a degree to bring home more cash. 

I often find that as women we are comfortable talking about how society oppresses us and the obstacles we are up against. 

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Still, we find it hard to stomach how we navigate this practically. No self-respecting feminist wants to admit that living with a partner is a huge financial load off their shoulders. Because it just doesn't seem very cool or edgy or progressive, but it's bloody true. I suppose this is where I also struggle. 

I want to fight the good fight. I want to scream at the top of my lungs that I don't need a man! But the truth is I kind of do, at least if I want to have any hopes of getting into the property market, and that's hard to swallow, isn't it? Don't worry, it makes me uncomfortable too.

Now, of course, I love my boyfriend. I've chosen him because he is kind, warm and calm, but I'm also aware long-term if I needed him to, he'd be able to support me, and I can't pretend that isn't part of what makes our relationship feel comforting.

Together, we are willing to work towards our financial security.

Alone, we would both struggle. And yes, I said 'both'. But my struggle would be just that bit harder. Around 20 per cent harder. We are both around the same age, have similar educations, and work hard, but you guessed it. He earns more. 

I know as a society we love to shame women who reach financial security through any other means but hard work, but the game isn't set in our favour, so can you really blame women for thinking maybe I'll just meet a nice man who earns a lot instead? I mean, what's the alternative? Working hard and watching a male contemporary earn 20 per cent more? While you will always have 20 per cent less? 

So this is why you can call me a gold digger. Because I am desperately trying to find a way to feel more equal in this world. I want to be financially secure, to not be at the mercy of landlords or a mercurial employment environment or sexist employers.

Right now, the way to do that might just be through pairing up with a man, and if that makes you mad, it should. I'm bloody furious.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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