Financial Empowerment


We often hear it talked about, but what does it really mean and more importantly, what does it really mean for you? 

As a woman who has been coaching women to become financially confident for several years, I know Financial Empowerment encompasses many things, all aimed at increasing autonomy, security and the ability for a woman to positively impact their business and personal lives.

But this is what I believe it takes to achieve financial empowerment and to a large extent, we are not there yet in making this a reality for the many. But we are in a stronger position than we ever have been before and through our collective will and action, this position can only improve further.

So where does Financial Empowerment start.  It must begin with Financial Education. Understanding the financial basics is critical for making informed decisions. It starts with knowing how to budget, how to set effective financial goals, the best way to save to achieve those goals, understanding credit, how to manage debt effectively and how to plan for the future, through sound investment. 

Many believe that Schools should be responsible for providing financial education to its students. This should be part of the formula, but I believe that financial education actually should begin in the home, from the age of around 3 years old, when young children are able to start to understand simple concepts around money, which usually involves some form of play or gamification.

However, we currently have a situation of chicken and egg. Most parents were not ever taught anything significant about managing money when they were children. They received no education about money at school and therefore feel they lack the knowledge and experience to talk or teach their children anything about money….so the cycle just continues.

Talking to our children about money does not have to be complicated. It certainly should not feel scary or uncomfortable. Talking to our children about money should simply be a way of responding to and encouraging their natural curiosity and providing them with the stepping stones on how they approach their lives, never shying away from asking questions, or feeling that money is a taboo subject.

Openly navigating money conversations with children is easy, if you follow these 3 Golden Rules.

  1. Ask your children what they want to know about money
  2. Remember what you wanted to know about money when you were their age
  3. Be open with them, tell them you might not have all the answers, but that you can find out the answers together.

This approach ensures that children never feel disempowered themselves, by a lack of encouragement to be curious and to ask questions. It demonstrates that their parents will actively support them as they grow and it also fosters the positive belief that we don’t have to know everything, that it is OK to learn and to actively encourage seeking out the right individuals to support us on our journey to financial empowerment ( and all aspects of life come to that ).

Education empowers women to navigate financial systems confidently and make decisions that best suit them and their family’s needs. It also creates confidence to ask questions, to be curious and to feel they don’t have to have all the answers themselves but feel empowered to find trusted advisors to support them, without feeling a sense of lack in themselves. This is fostered in childhood, if done correctly.

Financial Empowerment is not just about having money or resources, it’s about having control and responsibility over them. This includes the ability to make decisions about spending, saving and investing. Control also refers to decision-making power in your business, your home and wider community about financial matters, allowing women to be able to influence economic outcomes in a much bigger way.

Increasing a woman’s capacity to influence their financial outcomes and make strong independent financial decisions, is exactly what true financial empowerment should provide, but right now for many women, this comes at a cost.

It comes at the cost of how they are perceived ( being too masculine ), it comes at the cost of them questioning can they have it all ( I don’t believe they can, but I also don’t believe anyone can, it’s about being free to make choices that work for you ), it comes at a cost of worrying about other people’s opinions and learning to navigate those in a way that least impacts you and it comes at a cost of recognising with true growth, true discomfort goes hand in hand.

Previous studies have shown that increasing women’s participation in the economy leads to faster economic growth. A report by McKinsey Global Institute suggested that by advancing women’s equality, this would add a staggering $12 trillion GDP by 2025. At time of writing in 2024, I suspect we are still behind this figure, due to change not happening at a fast enough pace, but the prize is there for the taking, with the right commitment and action.

Added to this, evidence from other research shows that companies with more women in decision-making roles experience higher productivity and higher profitability. Also, numerous studies have shown that financially empowered women are more likely to invest in their family’s nutrition, education and health which are all key factors in lifting households out of poverty.

But there are still barriers to female financial empowerment, which includes….

Limited access to Financial Services, despite great work being done in this area, figures show that in most parts of the World women are still less likely to have access to funding. In fact, figures last year, showed we were actually getting less funding now, than we were in previous years. This gap limits women’s ability to save, invest, protect their financial assets and to support economies to do the same.

In some cultures, women are traditionally not seen as financial decision-makers, which can prevent them from engaging fully in financial activities. But with women often living longer than men, this can put them at considerable disadvantage, not only during their formative years, but in older life also. 

There also continues to be lower levels of education and employment among women, which directly impacts their financial empowerment. It can be a vicious cycle, education leads to better job opportunities and financial literacy, both of which are vital for financial autonomy and financial confidence.

Ultimately financial empowerment fosters greater personal agency, meaning women have the power to act for themselves and make their own decisions. To not be reliant disproportionately on someone else. This independence is a key component of personal dignity and self-efficacy.

Much is being done at a local level to create an environment where women are able to achieve financial empowerment, but this is not the case universally across the globe. As women we are demanding more not only from men and for equality, but from ourselves as well. Stepping up and into the spotlight, shining a beacon on what we are capable of and taking what is rightly ours, an equal seat at the table, but this is still largely the case for the few, not the majority and certainly not for all.

So, what needs to happen to ensure empowering more women financially becomes a reality. That is a big question, but one that has to be tackled if we are ever to see the scales become balanced, or dare I say it..tipped in our favour?

Firstly, providing girls and women with education and skills training to boost their employment prospects and how to manage their finances is key and this element cannot be overlooked in terms of providing the very foundations from which everything else can follow. For too long Financial Education has been overlooked in Schools, this is where the cycle has to be broken. Educate children about money and their relationship with it and over time, they can then start to do the same for their children.

But teaching just the facts about money is not enough….it is like doing your Theory Driving Test (which we do in the UK, before we can get behind a wheel and learn how to drive ) but then not having the confidence to get in a car and to take driving lessons, or taking driving lessons and not having the confidence to take your practical driving test….you have the theoretical and practical knowledge to pass your driving test, but you lack the belief you will pass the test and therefore do not advance to that stage of actually taking the test…the same applies if you only teach the theory side of managing money….but lack the belief that financial success is actually for you. 

Both Financial Education and Success Mindset must be taught hand in hand, to really create the belief in what is possible for the individual. Do this and they will become much more confident with regards to the art of the possible for them.

Next, we must, must, must find a way to provide access to more women for financial funding. When you read statistics that clearly show that women led businesses get less than 2% of capital venture funding, then you know this is a roadblock in empowering women financially. 

We need to get much more creative and look at Microfinance initiatives, such as Kiva to support women to support themselves (and their families…because this is what women do when they have money…they do good with it).

Governments must also do more to enforce the laws that are already in place that ensure women’s rights to own property, inherit assets and access credit, on an equal footing with men….for lots of us these are rights we take for granted…for many these rights are not even granted.

Embracing technology, as there are now many Fintech companies that offer new options for women to access financial services, even in remote areas, where traditional banking may not be accessible. These are opening up new possibilities, new opportunities and for many, hope.

Finally, we have to recognise the importance of our own mindset as women in raising the awareness that we cannot and will not be held back. That we have so much to offer and through Financial Empowerment and real belief in the art of what is possible for us to achieve, then the old adage will not just cause a ripple effect, it will create a whole tsunami of change, innovation and opportunity, not just for women but for so many more also. When women have money, they do good with it….and amen to that.


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