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Breaking the Glass Ceiling; Women and Investing; Moms at Work, Dad Stays Home

Aired December 28, 2013 - 09:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good-bye, 2013. Hello, 2014. We're looking at an improving economy, a midterm election, and topping it all off, it just may be the year of the woman.

I'm Christine Romans. This is YOUR MONEY.

You've seen the signs. In case of emergency, break glass. Well, in many industries women are shattering the glass ceiling. So is this really a milestone moment for half the labor force? It's all in the eye of the beholder.

First, let's look at this through rose colored glasses. Women reaching new heights. Mary Barra becomes GM's CEO in January. The first woman to head an American automaker. Janet Yellen takes over at the Federal Reserve as the chief. Also a first, in Congress, Senator Patty Murray, she proved bipartisanship isn't dead. She crafted this budget deal with Republican Congressman Paul Ryan.

And in the notorious boys club of the tech world, women like Yahoo's Marissa Mayer and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, they have broken through.

Now the pay gap is also shrinking for women who are newer to the workforce. Pew Research finds women ages 25 to 34, earned 93 cents to a man's dollar. Yes, I know, it's still a gap. But it's a lot closer to parity.

But now let's look through those broken glasses, if you will. For all workers, 16 and up, that pay gap is much wider. Women earn just 84 cents to a man's dollar. So maybe this isn't the year of the woman. Maybe it's more like 2045 will be the year of the woman.

And among Fortune 500 CEOs, let's be clear. Women holding only 16.9 percent of corporate board seats. In 2013, that's no real progress for eight years. That's according to catalysts. And only 14.6 percent of chief executive officer positions are held by women.

Now the numbers are only slightly better, by the way, in Congress. There are 20 female senators. About 20 percent. And in the house, 78 female representatives. That's about 18 percent.

And then there's this Pantene ad. Pantene, the shampoo, went viral after Sheryl Sandberg tweeted it.

It goes on like that for another 40 seconds. You get the idea. Men are bosses. Women are bossy. Men are persuasive. Women are pushy.

A lot of women talking about that ad.

Carly Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company. Today she chairs the charitable organization Good 360. She also ran for Senate and advised John McCain during his 2008 presidential run.

S.E. Cupp is the co-host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE."

Nice to see both of you today. Two women with opinion and a lot of experience to talk about these subjects.

Carly, let me -- let me ask you first. We can celebrate the Mary Barras and the Janet Yellens of the world, but women are still battling these labels in the workplace. They're underrepresented on boards in the corporate suite. Why?

CARLY FIORINA, FORMER CHAIRMAN AND CEO, HP: Well, it's a great question. It's not because they're unprepared. You know, there was a time when people say, well, women need time to gain enough experience to serve in those jobs. That's clearly not true. It's not because of a lack of education. Women actually are receiving more education now than their male counterparts, both at the undergraduate and the graduate level.

And so I think now we're at something a little bit more profound. And that is that people are more comfortable with people like them. It's just human nature. And so we just need more practice at this. We need more women in more positions so that we stop treating women differently. We still do. We talk about them differently. We scrutinize them differently. We criticize them differently.

Women represent half of the population. And they clearly have, we now know, the experience, the brain power and the education, to hold half the jobs.

ROMANS: All right. So this is also something, S.E., that I think Republicans are talking about, too. They want to close this sort of gender gap among voters.

I want you to listen to something that House Speaker John Boehner said recently.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, I try to get them to be a little more sensitive. You know, you look around the Congress. There are a lot more females in the Democratic Congress than there are in the Republican Congress. And, you know, some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be.


ROMANS: Most women in Congress are Democrats. Moderate Republicans like Senator Olympia Snowe have left. Does the GOP, S.E., have a problem with women?

S.E. CUPP, CNN CO-HOST, CROSSFIRE: Yes. I mean, the short answer is yes. And while it's reassuring that Republicans are going to put themselves through some sensitivity training, unless they have real live women leading those training sessions, I'm not really sure that they'll get the message.

Look, as a Republican, as a conservative woman, I can vouch, I promise you, there are conservative messages that are empowering for women and appealing to women. It's possible to get women voters to come over. And I think Democrats have overreached a little bit in terms of their message of victimhood. That war on women message, I think, is going to fall a little flat.

Why? You just laid out how women have been shattering the glass ceiling, how pay cut -- the pay gap is diminishing. There are so many celebrations for women, both the culturally and politically. I don't know that that message of victimhood is going to help -- is going to help Democrats the way it did in previous years.

But Republicans have got to offer up empowering messages that go along with their empowering policies and explain to women why we have the solutions to some of their problems.

ROMANS: Well, it's interesting because there's policies and there's messaging of policies. And sometimes those are two very, very different, different things.

CUPP: Yes.

ROMANS: You know, Carly, let me ask you. During the government shutdown, women senators were instrumental in driving the compromise. Research also shows women in management are good for company's bottom line.

We've seen that again and again, by the way. Is there something fundamentally different about the way women lead?

FIORINA: Well, first, let me just expand on the research you're talking about. The research goes even beyond that. We know that when women get engaged in problem solving, no matter what the problem is, you know, it could be disease, it could be conflict, it could be budget reconciliation, as you've mentioned. Things get better. The data is crystal clear. The facts are all there.

I do think that women tend to approach people with attempt, a desire to find some common ground. Women don't necessarily go first to confrontation. They go first, generally speaking, to collaboration. There are always exceptions to this rule. But I think women tend to be natural collaborators. It's why I think women are natural leaders.

And just to S.E.'s point, you know, I think the Democratic Party has made one terrible mistake. And that is, although, they're doing much better with single women, in particular, than the Republican Party is, anyone who assumes that a woman is a single issue voter is downplaying that woman's capabilities.

The truth is women make most of the decisions in the family about health care, about education. Most of the time it's women balancing the checkbooks. In my house, my husband balances the checkbook. But that's an exception.

And so women care about all these issues and women tend to, we know from the research, both in this country and around the world, that women think outside of themselves. They think about the health of their families, the health of their businesses, the health of their communities. Not just their own self-interests.

ROMANS: Yes. We have, you know, probably the most dominant figure in politics is a Democrat. Female figure politics right now is a Democrat. Hillary Clinton.

S.E., clearly the front runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Not a stretch to say she could be the -- America's first woman president. You say she could be a danger -- in danger of becoming the next Mitt Romney. Why?

CUPP: Yes, it was really interesting. And underreported. She appeared at a meeting of Goldman Sachs executives essentially to tell them, don't worry, I'm not here to banker bash. That era of banker bashing is over. The banks aren't all bad.

That's not a wrong message. Politically, it's a dangerous message for her. It doesn't really jive with the new progressive anti-bank, Elizabeth Warren, Bill DeBlasio wing of the Democratic Party but she's going to have to sort of move leftward toward if she wants to have a successful presidential campaign. It's just a bizarre -- it's a bizarre ground for her to stake out just now.

ROMANS: I'll tell you something that I think is interesting, When we don't have a year of the woman, then we really know it's the year of women.


FIORINA: Exactly right.

ROMANS: You know? I mean, we keep trying to label these years as year of women. I think that shows --


ROMANS: You're right. Not yet. Year of the woman comment, not yet.

FIORINA: That's right.

ROMANS: S.E. and Carly, it's so nice to see you, guys. Thank you.

CUPP: Thanks.

ROMANS: Coming up, women still hold the purse strings in most U.S. households, men are still making the long-term investment decisions. We're going to talk to one woman who is trying to change that.


ROMANS: All right. Slowly, women are breaking through the glass ceiling in more industries and the pay gap is narrowing especially among millenials. But when it comes to investing, it looks more like this.

June Cleaver, "Leave It to Beaver," the 1950s. Women decide where to buy things, how to spend the money like groceries, utility bills, and mortgage, et cetera. But managing the family portfolio, that tends to be the husband's job.

Forty-two percent of women say they are very uncomfortable taking on investment risks. Twenty-eight percent of men say the same thing.

Alexa Von Tobel is on a crusade to change this. She is the CEO and founder of, a program that empowers everyone to take control of their personal finances. She's also the author of "Financially Fearless."

And welcome to the program. So nice to see you. Now two stats that your team sent us that, I think really explained a lot. First, the survey finding 95 percent of women control the financial decisions made in their households. But 86 percent of women believe they are unable to choose financial products. Why?

ALEXA VON TOBEL, CEO, LEARNVEST: So I love talking about this. Obviously trying to change it. So, in general, women are the chief household officer.

ROMANS: Right.

VON TOBEL: They're making all the spending decisions, they're sending kids here and there. Travel vacations, everything. But when it comes to picking products, things like insurance, thinking about your portfolios, first, we've never been educated. We are not taught in high schools or colleges across the country. And then obviously, as you just said, we see that it tends to be something that men used to deal with. Women manage budgets.

ROMANS: Right.

VON TOBEL: Men manage investments. And it's really just time to change that.

ROMANS: But, Alexa, I think men aren't taught these things in high school either. So where -- are they getting it by osmosis?

VON TOBEL: I was just going to say, so women may be less comfortable doing it. But men are also still uncomfortable.

ROMANS: Right.

VON TOBEL: What we're finding is no one out there is really great when it comes to tackling their finances. Figuring out how to have a financial plan and it's just because it has not been yet accessible.

ROMANS: Which is why it's sort of financial literacy I would say is gender unspecific because --


ROMANS: We all need to do a better job. But women sometimes can be better investors than men. And especially this -- not wanting to take on a lot of risk. Sometimes that can help you.


VON TOBEL: That can help you. So particularly women when it comes to investing tend to be better investors because they're more thoughtful in making decisions. Once they make a decision, they buy and hold, whereas men tend to trade significantly more. When the going gets rough, we'll try to get out of things. And so we do find that women tend to be better as long-term investors.

ROMANS: This is the time of year when people overspend, they overeat, and then they try to lose weight, go to the gym and have a financial plan in the beginning of the year.


ROMANS: And then you fall off the financial resolution.

VON TOBEL: That's right.

ROMANS: I like to use birthdays, maybe, as a better -- as a better -- you know, don't -- this is not the time of year to try to, like, tackle a whole new financial you.

VON TOBEL: Everything. Yes.

ROMANS: What is the trick that maybe you could tell somebody this time of year to sort of think 2014, I'm going to get it together?

VON TOBEL: Yes. So the most important thing you can do is say, I'm going to take the first step. And again, that's why, Learnvest offer a free financial check up on the phone. It's free. You get on the phone and we can tell you there's three things that you should be on track for whether or not you're on track.

And we always say just take the first step and then we can take it from there. But you have to put your hand up and the book is called "Financially Fearless" because you have to rip the band-aid off.

ROMANS: Right.

VON TOBEL: And none of us feel great about money. As I just said, none of us were ever educated on it. So if you don't feel great, that's OK. But it's time to take the first step.

ROMANS: There is a misnomer, too. People who think I don't have enough money to be saving and investing, and that's absolutely the wrong tack to take.

VON TOBEL: That's right. When you have less money, it's actually more fundamentally critical that you have a financial plan because that next dollar must go in the right spot. Whereas if you have a lot of money, you still need a plan, but you're probably in a much better position.

So financial planning is for everyone. And we're here to say it shouldn't be a luxury product. It really should be a mass consumer product.

ROMANS: So make it a New Year's resolution if you must. If you're too scared of a New Year's resolution about your money, wait until your birthday, but at the very least, check it out.

Thank you so much, Alexa Von Tobel.

VON TOBEL: Thank you so much.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

Coming up, she may call herself a nerd, but Marissa Mayer has -- well, she's made Yahoo! cool again. More on the business of being the highest paid CEO under 40. That's next.


ROMANS: How's this for a vote of confidence? Yahoo! stock is up almost 160 percent since Marissa Mayer became CEO last July. She's changing Silicon Valley and breaking stereotypes as she goes.

Here's a look at the business of being the most talked about woman in tech.


ROMANS (voice-over): Flashy acquisitions, a debate about women having it all, and a buzzed-about "Vogue" spread, Marissa Mayer has put Yahoo! back in the spotlight. She's the highest paid executive under 40. She earned $36 million last year including stock options.

MARISSA MAYER, CEO, YAHOO!: The job is really fun.

ROMANS: In 1999 she was Google's employee number 20, its first female engineer.

MAYER: My first five years at Google, I pulled an all-nighter in the office at least once a week.

ROMANS: She's credited with that clean look at Google and she's overseeing key projects like Gmail, Google Maps, even the search page. When Yahoo! came calling in July 2012, she became the president and CEO of a company in turmoil, the fourth leader in less than four years.

MAYER: I knew that the job would be hard. ROMANS: And the first Fortune 500 CEO to take the job while pregnant. That sparked nationwide debate about women having it all. Critics appalled when she took only two weeks of maternity leave and then worked from home.

MAYER: The baby has been way easier than everyone made it out to be.

ROMANS: But she upgraded Yahoo's policies. Sixteen-week paid leaves for moms, eight weeks for dad. She replaced BlackBerrys with iPhones, and following Google's lead, gave the employees free food.

MAYER: Yahoo! is a really fun place to work.

ROMANS: But she wants work at work. No more working from home. Mayer has given Yahoo! a new logo, new apps, a new home page, and new talent like Katie Couric. She's led Yahoo! in acquiring almost two dozen start-ups, including the $1.1 billion purchase of blogging platform tumblr to attract younger users.

One of the most powerful women in business, she's worth an estimated $300 million.

MAYER: It's God, family, and Yahoo! In that order.

ROMANS: Fashion not in the top three, but something she's now known for, she's appeared in an eye-catching two-page spread in "Vogue" and reportedly paid $60,000 at charity auctions to have lunch with Oscar Dela Renta. At 38 she's at the very top of Silicon Valley, she lives at the top of the Four Seasons.

The business of being Marissa Mayer is rewriting the code for women in tech.


ROMANS: Up next, women in the workplace and men in the home? Who earns more?




DAVE WETTY, STAY-AT-HOME DAD: By a wide margin.


ROMANS: Working moms and stay-at-home dads, how they're redefining work-life balance. Next.


ROMANS: Four in 10 U.S. households with kids now include a mother who is either the sole or primary earner for that family, and that's leading many couples to rethink who's doing all that laundry, carpooling and homework help.

Poppy Harlow joins me now.

Hi, Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you. I mean, this is a phenomenon we've been seeing happening, but it's happening more and more now. As more and more women become the main bread winner in the household, men are doing a lot more work at home. And we met up with a few dads who are happily taking on these new responsibilities.


HARLOW (on camera): Who earns more?

E. WETTY: I do.


D. WETTY: By a wide margin.

HARLOW (voice-over): Welcome to life with the Wettys and the Landries.

D. WETTY: Bye, mom.

E. WETTY: Bye.

D. WETTY: Bye.

E. WETTY: I'll see you tonight.

D. WETTY: Yes.

E. WETTY: I'm out the door by 7:45 and on my way to work, and that's when Dave takes over full time.

D. WETTY: You're tired and hungry, and you have a messy diaper.

HARLOW: Professional stay-at-home dads and their working wives bringing home the bacon.

D. WETTY: We have the little (INAUDIBLE) and he loves it.

BRETT LANDRY, STAY-AT-HOME DAD: He has his little cars, his Hot Wheels.

HARLOW (on camera): Did this take mental adjustment and deriving your worth from something other than your job?

B. LANDRY: Yes, there would be days when I'd be at the supermarket amongst all the other moms shopping, and I'm thinking, hmm, I'm home, they're home, I should be working, but I'm with my kid. What do they think of me?

HARLOW (voice-over): Nearly 40 percent of married, working women in the U.S. now out-earn their husbands, a trend that's been steadily increasing since the late 1980s. That, despite the fact that women working full time still earn a median wage lower than men.

LIZA MUNDY, AUTHOR, "THE RICHER SEX": Women are on track to become majority bread winners in families where women work, and most women do work. If we keep going at the same rate, by 2030, a majority of working wives will out-earn their husbands.

HARLOW: Liza Mundy is the author of "The Richer Sex."

MUNDY: Long-term structural changes in the economy are favoring women.

HARLOW: The pill, the education and the man-cession.

B. LANDRY: The recession happened, my job started to become harder and harder, and she was making more.

HARLOW: Today, 57 percent of college students are women and more women are getting masters degrees and Ph.D.s than men, which is translating into higher-paying jobs.

(On camera): Do you guys think we're seeing a societal shift here? Something pretty dramatic?

B. LANDRY: I think so. It's just the -- you know, the recession put a lot of people out of work, and it gave women the opportunity to say, look, I've gone to college, I've -- you know, I have the degree -- I can do this, I'm going to prove myself. And men now have to prove to themselves, to the world, that they can -- anyone can stay at home with their kids.

D. WETTY: I think the recession also taught people that your job doesn't define you, and if you do, it will crush you.

HARLOW: Does this mean the downfall of men?

MUNDY: It by no means is the downfall of men. I think it's a real liberation for men in terms of not being trapped by that job that you hate, that you feel like you had to take just to support a wife and children.

E. WETTY: The best part is I still get to enjoy being a litigator as well as being a mom.

STEPHANIE LANDRY, WORKING MOM: I'm really genuinely honored that he has the ability to do this.


HARLOW: Absolutely. You know, we first spoke to the Landrys and the Wettys about 18 months ago and we caught up with them again. They're doing great. The Landrys have gone from renting to owning their own home. Today is actually their ninth anniversary of the day they met so congrats, guys. You know, Brett also told me that he couldn't be happier with their arrangement. As for the Wetty family, David Wetty is still a stay-at-home dad. He says Erin and he are doing well with their work-life balance. The second child, may be, Christine, down the road, but they're pretty busy with 2-year-old Alex right now. But what was interesting to me, David has stated this stay-at-home dad's group.

ROMANS: Right.

HARLOW: And he said it has grown exponentially since we first met them.



ROMANS: I bet.

HARLOW: So he's seeing more and more.

ROMANS: I bet. How great to have a CFO at home, who is like running things, handling it all?

HARLOW: Absolutely.

ROMANS: And, you know, it's one thing -- it's never really 50/50, it's 75/25.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: And then 25/75. I mean, that ability to go back and forth and to share like that.

HARLOW: And if you can do it, I mean, in a lot of cities, you just can afford to not both work, but in some places you can, or if some people have high-paying jobs, you can.

ROMANS: Yes. And then there's child care. I mean, then you look at how much it's costing for child care if both parents work.


ROMANS: And sometimes you make that tradeoff.

HARLOW: That's true.

ROMANS: It's nice to see you. Thanks you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Thanks.

ROMANS: Thank you for starting your Saturday smart with us. Coming up on a brand new YOUR MONEY at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, we're going to ring in the new year by counting down 2013's biggest moments in business.

Number four, the government shutdown, 16 days, causing billions in economic damage. Number three,'s rollout goes from glitchy to catastrophe. Number two JPMorgan agrees to pay $13 billion to settle charges that misled investors.

What's number one? Tweet me to see if you know what it is, and then you can find out for sure at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on an all-new YOUR MONEY.