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How We Can Empower Young Girls to Be Financially Independent

Betsy Kelder

Executive Director, Invest In Girls

Financial literacy is a game changer for career success, but it’s often not taught to women. It’s time to empower young girls in finance early on.

Look around an average classroom, and odds are that about half the kids will be girls. Look around a typical corporate boardroom, though, and odds are that only about 1 in 5 directors are women.

Why the discrepancy?

It’s partly due to history. But it’s also because girls in the classroom aren’t often given opportunities to learn about personal finance and careers, or to learn to believe in their own abilities. Studies show that only 12 percent of women feel confident making personal financial decisions, and they tend to defer financial choices to others more than men do. So, if women don’t learn the language of money at a young age, others will speak for them.

Turning the tide

Young women now are taking steps themselves to start mastering money skills and build financial literacy and confidence. Here are the foundational skills to build financial knowledge and bring young girls success and proficiency early on:

  • Advocate for yourself: Always negotiate a job offer and don’t hesitate to ask for a raise. Learning and understanding financial concepts will put you in a stronger place when negotiating and make you more self-assured in the process.
  • Be independent: Don’t assume someone else knows more about money than you. You have the ability to take control of your own finances.
  • Have confidence: There’s no career or goal you can’t take on.
  • Be thrifty: Start building a nest egg early in your career so you can live the lifestyle you want to and support the causes you care about.

Invest in girls

There are also simple steps parents, schools, and corporate leaders can take to invest in girls:

  • Offer personal finance classes for all — girls and boys — in high school: Financial literacy changes the way people see the world and their roles in it.
  • Offer additional opportunities for girls: Research shows girls especially need an environment they feel safe, comfortable, and empowered in to ask questions, take chances, and learn most effectively.
  • Bring women role models into classrooms and introduce girls to boardrooms and workplaces: Access to female role models can accelerate change in the landscape of America’s financial industry and foster girls’ interest in both the field of finance and their personal financial capabilities.

Girls can and should feel empowered to make financial decisions for their personal lives and their careers just as boys do. It’s time to even the odds.

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