Financial Literacy Month: Closing the financial literacy gender gap
Updated: Apr 25, 2022
Imagine a society where:
Every girl clearly understands that a man is not a financial plan.
Girls are taught to be financially savvy at a young age.
At least 50% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.
The gender gap has been eliminated and women control their rightful share—half—of the world’s wealth!
Women are better off than 20 years ago, when 7 Fortune 500 CEOs were women; now there are 74. Women earned $.76 to every dollar earned by men and now they’re earning $.81, although a deeper dive into the data reveals that women of color earn significantly less for every dollar a white man makes.
A gender gap exists in terms of financial literacy as well. In 2021, the TIAA Institute measured understanding and knowledge of financial literacy topics and found that women didn’t perform as well as men on its annual Personal Finance Index, with women answering 49% of the questions correctly, compared to men’s 56% correct answers.
When looking at women's investments in the stock market, a Fidelity Investments' 2021 study found that 67% of women are investing outside of retirement (up from 44% in 2018), but NerdWallet's 2021 survey suggested a bleaker picture, finding that only 48% of women respondents invest in the stock market, compared to 66% of men. Despite this discrepancy in numbers, both studies revealed that women are less confident in investing than men, although Fidelity’s analysis of its 5 million customers’ performance showed that women earned better returns than men by 0.4% over the past ten years.
Women are smart investors, and equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage their personal finances, they can feel more confident too. Our financial literacy program aims to change girls’ and young women’s attitudes towards, and emotional relationship with, money so they feel empowered to pursue their aspirations. Our curriculum presents a new reality to students, encouraging them to move away from thinking of money in terms of scarcity and toward viewing it in terms of abundance.
Through the Her Future project, we are updating and digitizing our signature financial literacy curriculum and developing a mobile app, both tailored to meet the financial realities of girls and young women, particularly those from underserved communities. The interactive online module and phone app will guide users through exercises in saving, budgeting, building credit, investing, and financial topics that girls and young women don’t typically learn through public education.
Already, we’ve seen our students realize the success of their investment decisions. For example, a few years ago, we taught our students about investing in the stock market and using what they learned, they bought their own stocks. Within one year, the students earned a 54% rate of return–all on their own!