It’s International Women’s Day and there’s a lot to shout about. The world may be a little chaotic at the moment (!) but women are bursting through the gender pay gap, continuing to fight for equal status and rights as men.
Yes, it’s slow progress; the persisting 18% gender pay gap, the lack of women in positions of power and all-male CEOs in companies – but there’s also a lot to celebrate.
A recent survey by the Press Association found that young women’s earnings in the UK have overtaken men’s for the first time ever – hooray!
Financial education still needs to improve if these small steps are to turn into giant leaps for womankind. So whether you make £200 or £10 an hour, we all need to learn how to become financially independent women.
It’s true that women feel less confident than men when handling finances. The key to changing this is to educate ourselves and pass that knowledge on to the next generation.
Girls need to be taught how to be financially independent women. Thankfully the days of telling girls all they need do is marry a wealthy husband, produce offspring and cook, are all but dead.
How to Teach Girls to be Financially Independent Women
Here are some tips on learning the basics, leading by example, making it fun, talking (and sometimes arguing) with our daughters, to mould a future generation of confident, money-savvy and financially independent women.
1. Learn the Basics
There’s a saying that goes: “If you educate a man, you educate one person, but if you educate a woman, you educate the world.”
It comes from the fact that women are generally responsible for educating children in their early years. That’s not to say fathers don’t have a role, but children generally spend more time with their mothers.
If you don’t feel confident about even basic financial management it will be difficult to pass on to the next generation.
Spend time educating yourself on financial issues, especially those which specifically affect women. There is a world of resources out there and you can find information on anything from paying tax to saving, here at Money Nuggets.
2. Career Kids
Women face a struggle when they have a career and a family. But this does not mean that it’s an either/or choice.
This may have been the stark choice our mothers had but the world has changed and our daughters need to know that.
The expectation that men should take a greater role in childcare is improving and some bosses are increasing flexibility to allow both parents to have careers and raise a family. To gain financial independence, girls need a career.
Talk to your daughters about what they want to do when they grow up and show them the steps they need to take to get there.
Encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship to create the businesswomen of the future. You could get them to think about their own business ideas, from garage sales to selling old toys on eBay, these all build up confidence in girls.
Related: Smart Ways to Save on Childcare Cost
3. Teach Her to Save (but remember to be fair from the start)
Children perform better in education and at work in later life if they are taught to save up for what they want.
Delayed gratification gets results and if girls get into the savings habit at a young age they will be more careful with their money down the line.
A recent survey found that girls get on average of 20% less pocket money than boys in the same family.
Many parents didn’t even realise they were doing it. This encourages the attitude that girls earn less than boys and can have a massive impact on girls’ perception of their self-worth in adulthood. If you give pocket money, make sure it’s the same as the boys.
4. Financial Planning, Not Family Planning
According to Prudential, only 10% of female breadwinners feel knowledgeable about financial products and services.
It’s clear that today’s women feel less confident about investing their money than men. Why? Because not enough women understand how to make their money grow.
A great way to encourage an interest in investing is to buy some stocks or bonds for your teenage daughter’s birthday. Walk her through the paperwork and encourage her to check how her money is growing.
5. Toot Your Own Horn
If your finances are in good shape, show your daughter your bank statements and make her proud of you for managing the family accounts.
Explain how the money comes in and goes out and what happens if you fall into debt. It’s also a good idea to show her how much life actually costs and what to expect when she is an adult.
Money doesn’t grow on trees and the earlier she learns how to manage money the more savvy she’ll be.
It will also give her a sense of importance in your own household. She might even be more sympathetic to how hard you work!
6. Happily (hardly ever) After
Fight the fairy tale that growing up for a girl means a handsome prince and a castle. A man does not equal money and it’s important that girls learn to see adult relationships as a team effort, where both partners contribute.
Have a frank conversation with older girls about how relationships can break up and emphasise the importance of being financially independent if the worst happens.
7. Material Girl
The average household has 300,000 items. This figure has almost tripled over the last 50 years and the bulk of what we own we don’t need.
One of the best ways to teach your kids about money and good financial discipline is to get children used to buying only what they need, not what they want and reading books that teach valuable money lessons – there loads to chose from on Amazon.
This is especially important for young adults leaving home and getting an overdraft or credit card. You won’t be able to stand there while they make poor spending choices, so educate them now.
Lead by example and show your daughters that you are not taken in by shiny things. Watch YouTube videos on how to fix or repair knackered electronic devices and upcycle clothes and furniture.
8. Listen to Her
Girls need to know that their voice matters. Yes, you make the rules but girls should be encouraged to voice their opinion and argue their point.
This develops negotiating skills which can be used later in life. Too many women’s voices are silenced and girls learn to back down. But if you let her say her piece as a child, she will be able to fight her corner as an adult.
Over to You
What do you teach your daughters, pupils, or nieces about money? Can you add any more ideas to our list? We’d love to hear from you.
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