Who runs the world? Girls who are financially literate. A new project aims to help young women close the gender pay gap.
Generation Z specialist Irregular Labs has launched a new initiative, empowering young women by helping them become cash savvy. According to its site, “there are no interesting, practical, accessible programs out there to teach women about money.” Enter Dolla Dolla World, a free financial literacy scheme taking on the task of educating gen Zers on everything money-related, from savings, credit and loans to investing and entrepreneurship.
“Giving young people the necessary skills for independence, economic or otherwise, is our responsibility as a society,” Molly Logan, founder of Dolla Dolla World, tells JWT Intelligence. “When I asked about 200 girls what they wished was taught in high school the answers were: financial literacy and self-defense. Of course, I would argue that financial literacy is self-defense.”
Dolla Dolla World is currently up on Kickstarter, aiming to raise $35,000 to launch the scheme. The plan is to introduce a pilot program this summer, with classes, coaching and support from established women including cofounder of the Huffington Post Arianna Huffington, activist Bethann Hardison, and entrepreneur Dita Von Teese.
The program comes at a time when disparity between men and women is at the forefront of news headlines. In the United Kingdom, over 10,000 companies have publicly provided details of the gender pay gap, revealing that 78% paid men more than women. In 2016, according to the US Census Bureau, US women in full-time jobs made 80.5 cents for every dollar made by men, and the pay gap has closed less than 1% in the last year. When it comes to setting up new businesses men also have a significant advantage. Figures from PitchBook, a venture capital (VC) database, found that in 2017 all-female teams only received 2.2% of VC investment compared to 79% received by all-male teams.
“With US women set to control over two-thirds of the nation’s wealth by 2020, but only 12% of girls feeling confident in their financial skills, we can no longer afford to not actively and aggressively support young women in their pursuit of financial knowledge and professional opportunities,” Logan points out. The spotlight on the imbalance between men and women in the workplace has encouraged companies to take action by instilling knowledge and confidence in young women.
Equal Pay Day in the United States, which fell on April 10 this year, is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap and, more significantly, reviewing any shifts in the wage difference from the previous year. The movement on social media has spurred over 37,000 #equalpayday posts on Instagram, as of April 2018, and high-profile women are also openly demanding equality. Celebrity Ellen DeGeneres tweeted “What do we want? Equal pay! When do we want it? 100 years ago #EqualPayDay” and received over 100,000 likes.
Sharing information about personal finances was once considered taboo, but platforms like Money Diaries, published by Refinery29, are opening up the topic. Led by Lindsey Stanberry, work and money director at Refinery29, Money Diaries aims to tackle “what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money.” The platform gives readers candid insights into how much young female professionals earn, and how they distribute their salary over a week—from rent and student loans to vacations and self-care.
Prior to the launch, Stanberry found that all the information then available for women was “either overly simplified (too pink) or overly complex (too Wall Street).” She launched the work and money section in spring 2015 and Money Diaries was a natural extension. “Managing your finances is definitely emotional—and sometimes awkward and uncomfortable—but it’s not really that hard,” Stanberry explains to JWT Intelligence. The popularity of the diaries shows that women want to learn about managing money and read about how others spend, save and invest. Refinery29 now publishes one diary every day and will be rolling out a week of international diaries.
Feminine care brand Thinx created a feminist curriculum through the Thinx Foundation, giving girls the opportunity to join the Thinx Global Girls Club and learn about money, how to set up a business, health and community. According to a survey conducted by SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s in-house consumer insights unit, half of generation Z already see themselves as entrepreneurs, while 63% think of themselves as influencers. Dolla Dolla World and the Thinx Global Girls Club are offering resources for girls to jumpstart their businesses, and not feel at a disadvantage compared to their male counterparts from an early age.
Lifestyle brand Goop offers advice on financial matters, with online articles addressing the basics of investing and tips for managing money. Goop targets xennials and generation X, so posts even cover making the most out of divorce settlements, while its focus on financial health speaks to a new movement of wellbeing that links better control of finances to mental health.
Predictions on when equal pay will be achievable varies. In the United States the American Association of University Women gives a bleak forecast, predicting women will reach equal pay in 100 years, while the Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates it will be reached by 2059.
“Money is power, and power is still a struggle for women every damn day,” says Dolla Dolla World’s promo video. But there’s hope that, with brands, social media, and the news celebrating female empowerment, and including personal finance and control in the conversation, the daily “struggle” women are facing will soon be set to change. The road to equal opportunities and equal pay may not be as far off as forecasters predict.