Empowering Girls Through Financial Literacy – Jennifer Oaten
In the iconic words of ABBA’s hit song, “Money, Money, Money,” the historical echoes where money was a man’s world are changing. In today’s reality, women are increasingly taking charge, both professionally and personally, to become financially empowered. This shift prompts us to explore the complexities of money and the importance of every young person, particularly young women, being informed.
Money makes the world go round, but it can also evoke a range of emotions, from elation to confusion. In today’s dynamic landscape, a solid understanding of financial matters is crucial. Financial literacy goes beyond the basics; it empowers individuals to make informed choices, take control of their finances, and navigate the economic complexities of the world. We aim to instil in our students the confidence to assert their worth, manage their wealth and navigate financial uncertainty.
We want our students to develop skills and knowledge so they can look after and make the most of their money. We want them to be informed about the following areas of financial literacy:
- Why money matters and what influences attitudes towards money
- Insights into what teenagers spend their money on and the cost of living
- Earning -taxation and superannuation
- Consuming – wants and needs, budgeting, credit cards and financial scams
- Saving – saving goals and tips
- Borrowing – loans, interest and managing debt
- Investing – investments, shares, properties
- The Gender Pay Gap
Despite 87% of our students having savings accounts, only 27% are aware of their interest rates. 58% expressed a desire to learn more about superannuation, recognising its growing importance as they approach adulthood and that opportunities to learn and understand finances are essential.
Our Future10 program, part of our emPOWER program, seamlessly integrates practical financial teachings with real-life scenarios, preparing Year 10 students for a lifetime of financial transactions. Covering topics such as earning money, budgeting and savvy spending, the program smoothly transitions students from the classroom to the complexities of the workforce and beyond. The program involves guest presenters, staff presenters, workshops and online modules, including podcasts and videos.
We also challenge conventional notions of success, emphasising that a purposeful life is not solely linked to financial wealth. The program explores the ethical value of money, the difference between needs and wants and our role as stewards in the community.
There is immense potential for imparting financial literacy through subjects like Accounting and Finance, Economics, Business and Management, and Enterprise. However, it is important to note that not all students opt for these subjects. Mathematics classes provide an ideal platform for developing an understanding of pay scales, minimum wages, interest and tax calculations, and spreadsheet usage. Additionally, various other cross-curricular classes could incorporate teachings on budgeting to further enhance students’ knowledge in this area.
Budgeting can be applied to various aspects of life, such as projects, meal planning, home construction, and even subscribing to apps and social media platforms. It’s important to introduce budgeting skills at an early age, starting from primary school, so that students can become familiar with the language and gradually build upon it each year. Eventually, this knowledge will be valuable when it comes to budgeting for major expenses like buying a car, especially for older students.
Michelle Bowes empowers teenage girls with insightful tips and tools in her book “Money Queens.” For more valuable insights, tune in to Financial Adviser Victoria Devine’s podcast called “She’s on the Money.”
Many of our students aspire to build careers in the financial sector. As part of our Sisterhood Lunch Series, we regularly invite alumni from the financial industry to share their insights with our girls, shedding light on the potential of a finance career.
Some examples of such careers include:
- Financial Analysts who evaluate investment opportunities.
- Accountants who manage and analyse financial records.
- Economists who study market trends and economic principles.
- Financial Planners who help individuals plan for their financial future.
- Investment Bankers who assist in the raising of capital for companies and governments.
- Auditors who ensure compliance with financial laws and regulations.
- Insurance Underwriters who assess risks and decide on insurance policies.
- Actuaries who analyse financial costs of risk and uncertainty.
- Tax Advisors who provide guidance on tax-related issues.
- Personal Finance Advisors who advise on budgeting, savings, and retirement planning.
A solid financial education also equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary for entrepreneurial ventures. It enables them to effectively start and manage their own businesses. Understanding finance is beneficial for roles in corporate strategy, business development, and non-profit organisation management, where budgeting, financial analysis, and resource allocation play critical roles.
Our commitment to fostering financial literacy is unwavering, as we believe it is a cornerstone of empowerment and equality. Future10 helps equip our young women with the financial knowledge necessary to thrive in a complex economic environment. By instilling confidence and knowledge, we are not only preparing our students for successful careers in finance but also for the invaluable role of being informed citizens and savvy consumers.
The journey of financial education at our College is designed to be a comprehensive, life-long process that goes beyond the classroom. It’s a proactive step towards bridging the gender pay gap, advocating for self-worth, and ensuring that our young women are not just participants but leaders in the world economy.
We take pride in each student who, through our program, finds her voice in the financial dialogue of our times. As they grow into financially literate adults, our students become the embodiment of the change we wish to see in the world—a world where financial empowerment is a right, not a privilege.
Let us continue to educate, inspire, and empower. Together, we can look forward to a future where financial literacy is not an aspiration but a reality for every young woman who walks through our doors.