Why We Need To Invest In Girls

Invest In Girls participants
Invest in Girls website

There is a rising focus on the lack of financial education at every age. Adults who never learned proper money management skills are now intimidated by finance and are suffering from debt and a lack of savings. Most kids aren’t being taught finance in schools or at home, so the cycle of intimidation and avoidance continues.

The obvious way to break the cycle is to teach kids finance early, before credit cards, student loans, first paychecks and career decisions. While important for all kids, this is especially needed for girls. Women are less likely to manage their household finances and are overwhelmingly underrepresented in the financial industry. A Harvard Business School study shows that women hold just 9% of senior roles in venture capital, 6% in private equity and a measly 3% in hedge funds.

This is where Invest In Girls comes in. A nonprofit and program of the Council for Economic Education, their mission is to usher in the first generation of financially literate girls and increase the number of women working in finance. With a lack of women role models in senior financial roles, girls tend to ‘opt out’ early on, deciding that financial services isn’t the right career for them. IIG (Invest In Girls) is changing this by creating programs for girls as young as 15-years-old that provide a comfortable and supportive environment to learn finance. In public schools, private schools, charter schools and community centers, the program is based on three tiers, the cornerstone being their workshops. This is where the fundamentals of finance are taught and career opportunities in the field explored.

“The workshops provide a safe place for girls to talk about money in a way that’s relevant for them. They may not feel as comfortable talking if it wasn’t just girls”, Betsy Kelder, Executive Director of Invest In Girls says. “For example, in one workshop they were talking about their monthly budgets and what they would include. One girl raised her hand and said ‘I would need to put $50/month towards hair products’. The girls in the group understood that - she may not have said this in front of boys”.

The full program is based on a three prong approach to give girls a holistic view on personal finance and the industry itself. In addition to the workshops, the program provides the girls with IIG Role Models to encourage young women to consider careers in finance. To further expose the girls to career options and demystify the financial world, IIG offers industry exposure trips so the girls get to experience what it’s actually like to work in the industry.

To fulfill their mission of cultivating a generation of financially literate women, the ultimate goal is to be in all schools throughout the country. And they are moving fast; In seven states currently, they plan to add 3-4 more by the end of the year.

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There is a rising focus on the lack of financial education at every age. Adults who never learned proper money management skills are now intimidated by finance and are suffering from debt and a lack of savings. Most kids aren’t being taught finance in schools or at home, so the cycle of intimidation and avoidance continues.

The obvious way to break the cycle is to teach kids finance early, before credit cards, student loans, first paychecks and career decisions. While important for all kids, this is especially needed for girls. Women are less likely to manage their household finances and are overwhelmingly underrepresented in the financial industry. A Harvard Business School study shows that women hold just 9% of senior roles in venture capital, 6% in private equity and a measly 3% in hedge funds.

This is where Invest In Girls comes in. A nonprofit and program of the Council for Economic Education, their mission is to usher in the first generation of financially literate girls and increase the number of women working in finance. With a lack of women role models in senior financial roles, girls tend to ‘opt out’ early on, deciding that financial services isn’t the right career for them. IIG (Invest In Girls) is changing this by creating programs for girls as young as 15-years-old that provide a comfortable and supportive environment to learn finance. In public schools, private schools, charter schools and community centers, the program is based on three tiers, the cornerstone being their workshops. This is where the fundamentals of finance are taught and career opportunities in the field explored.

“The workshops provide a safe place for girls to talk about money in a way that’s relevant for them. They may not feel as comfortable talking if it wasn’t just girls”, Betsy Kelder, Executive Director of Invest In Girls says. “For example, in one workshop they were talking about their monthly budgets and what they would include. One girl raised her hand and said ‘I would need to put $50/month towards hair products’. The girls in the group understood that - she may not have said this in front of boys”.

The full program is based on a three prong approach to give girls a holistic view on personal finance and the industry itself. In addition to the workshops, the program provides the girls with IIG Role Models to encourage young women to consider careers in finance. To further expose the girls to career options and demystify the financial world, IIG offers industry exposure trips so the girls get to experience what it’s actually like to work in the industry.

To fulfill their mission of cultivating a generation of financially literate women, the ultimate goal is to be in all schools throughout the country. And they are moving fast; In seven states currently, they plan to add 3-4 more by the end of the year.

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I am a Fee-Only, Certified Financial Planner. My new book - Beyond Piggy Banks and Lemonade Stands: How to Teach Young Kids About Finance - focuses on the importance of ...