Let’s get one thing straight. Empowerment boils down to one simple thing: being able to make independent choices. This goes for all aspects of our lives, whether it be around our health, our living situation, and how far we’ve managed to climb the career ladder. Stating the obvious, these are all spheres that have a massive impact on our lives. Yet women have a lot less power and control to make those decisions around their life independently. And that’s because we have less money.
If you’ve been following Female Invest for a long period of time you’ll hear us beating the same drum over and over. But these are the facts we’re fighting for. And as long as inequality and injustices exist for women, it’s our duty to keep going. That’s because it’s what’s shaping our own futures - as well as our daughters and granddaughters. That brings us back to the question we at Female Invest constantly find ourselves asking: what fuels empowerment?
Not a simple question to answer. However, we’ve identified four contributing factors.
What fuels empowerment?
1. Education: When we have access to education, we acquire knowledge and skills that enable us to make informed decisions about our lives and contribute to our communities.
3. Political representation: We know that when women are represented in decision-making positions, their perspectives and needs are more likely to be considered, culminating in policies and initiatives that promote gender equality.
4. Economic status: We know for a fact that our financial situation has a major influence on our sense of empowerment and our ability to live the life we want.
But let’s hone in on economic status. Why? Because we witness it every day at Female Invest. So naturally, we’re going to want to dig into this a little deeper and share what we’ve learned along the way.
First thing’s first: money equals freedom
By engaging with our community and educating women on their finances over the last three years, there’s no doubt that money equals power. Talking to women at our in-person and online events, seeing them engage with one another in our online community, as well as seeing what they have to say when they reach out through the instagram DMs, we hear women’s money stories first hand. Which is why it’s worth laser focussing on their experiences and lessons. Our community is living proof that when women control their money, they embody power and translate it into ultimate freedom.
1. Women want systemic change
Our community is rightly frustrated over the financial inequality and lack of opportunity they face. They share stories of being rejected in the bank when applying for a loan due to the ingrained gender biases which sadly still exist. Or it comes in the form of realising that their male colleague, who works the exact same job as them, earns 30% more. We feel it too.
Information is power. claim your seat with knowledge.
But the acknowledgement of this injustice, is immediately stirred up into a force for powerful change and it’s inspirational to say the least. Women constantly communicate that their feelings are the driving force for them to go claim their seat – whether it be firmly negotiating with the bank or confronting the boss about the obvious pay discrepancy with their male counterpart.
2. Your F*** You Fund is your lifesaver
If you’re new around here, you might be wondering what we mean, when we say: “F*** You Fund”? Allow me to explain. A F*** You Fund as an emergency savings account, meaning it’s money ready to be spent in those moments where you need them the most – whether it be when you need to a turbulent relationship, when you want to travel the world, or quitting the job that’s been making you unhappy for months on end. Or on a more positive note, you could be offered to pursue a really cool opportunity abroad.
Our messages are continuously flooded with messages from women who wished they’d known about the F*** You Fund strategy. But the good news is that women have often been able to leave the abusive relationship once they’ve learnt the nuts and bolts and got their F*** You Fund in order. And that’s the thing about emergencies – they happen when you least expect them.
But by managing your money effectively and building an F*** You Fund – consisting of three to six months of salary – you can say “yes” to the things you want and “no” to the things that no longer serve you. With that in mind, it’s a no brainer that your F*** You Fund is a basic necessity if you want to claim your seat. So start building your own now!
3. Information is power
We also receive words of gratitude from women who thank us for the financial education they always needed. And this feeling is elevated by other messages of excitement from those who are learning new concepts, putting the practical advice into action and passing on their newly-founded knowledge to friends and family. Because that’s the power of education – it instills confidence.
And that confidence forces them to be an inspiration to others. Women want to share the same eye opening journey and reveal to others that they can too. Women need more role models and we’re beyond excited to hear our members taking on the task. Because there’s power in numbers and the domino effect is transformational for both the individual and the collective.
It’s this very domino effect that fuels our mission and proves that information literally is power. And while we wait for “financial planning” to be added to the curriculum (it doesn’t look like it’s coming anytime soon FYI), let’s empower ourselves to take the initiative. Go learn about money for yourself. Go be the teacher and role model in your own communities. Go out and be the inspiration. Claim your seat to be the role model the world needs in our mission to close the financial gender gap.
3. Money is a joint responsibility
78% of women get negative financial surprises after divorcing their partner, so it’s no surprise that we’ve heard countless stories from women within the community experiencing the same. What does this tell us? That we can’t ignore our own seat at the table and pass all the financial planning to our partners. You have both the right and responsibility to claim your own seat in money management when you’re in a relationship.
So what do you do from here? You need to check in on your finances, your budgets, your pensions to ensure you’re on the right track. Start with your financial goals. Are you working towards the same things? And if your partner feels uncomfortable by you claiming your own financial seat within the relationship, then that’s not exactly the sort of partnership we should be subjecting ourselves to. The bottom line is this: money management matters if you want to thrive in your partnership.
The stories that our community have shared all have one thing in common – that we need to close the gender gaps through our own actions. We can’t deny that the ability to earn, save and invest our money is empowering in and of itself. Women have the ability to sit across the advisor in the bank and demand equal terms on their loan. Women can decide to open a F*** You Fund and start saving for their independence. Women can pave their way into the investing space which has for too long been dominated by men. And we provide women with the tools worldwide to do all of those things.
But women claiming their seat in the financial realm spills into all other areas of our lives and allow us to claim our seats beyond the financial – whether it be in business, sports, politics, our health, our wellbeing. Why? Because money gives us the freedom to make independent choices which culminate into a life designed on our own terms. And if there’s anything we’re sure of, it’s that arming yourself with information and a strong community spirit is what will get you there. If more women claimed their financial seat at the table, just think how many more seats we could fill in all other factions of society. Now that’s a powerful vision, isn’t it?