By Lauren Levine, Executive Associate
On Monday night I attended an event at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue led by JWI Executive Director Lori Weinstein. Entitled “Feminism & Finance: The Final Frontier for Gender Parity and Personal Empowerment,” the event was about helping women take full control of their financial lives through knowledge of personal finance. Having recently graduated from college and entered the world of complete financial independence, an empowering albeit intimidating move, I found the event to be of particular personal interest. As soon as it ended, I ran home, quickly checked that I’d paid my credit card bills, and transferred some more money into my savings account.
I’m comfortable going toe-to-toe with any man my age in political conversations, Jeopardy games, and sporting events, but for some reason, I cower in fear when it comes to finance. I’m working on overcoming that. As Lori explained, financial literacy is truly the final frontier. There’s no need to turn from Daddy to Hubby to control my finances when I have a career and prowess to do it myself.
The idea of female financial independence is especially pertinent during Domestic Violence Awareness Month since women are often unable to leave abusive relationships because they have no knowledge or control over their finances.
Sitting in a room full of young women discussing Roth IRAs and compounding interest rates, I’d never felt quite as proud and impressed by the power of women. When my grandmother was my age, women earned $.33 cents to every $1 a male earned. Now, women earn $.77 to the dollar. It’s not yet equal, and we’re still working on that, but if all women take control of their personal finances– saving early, investing confidently, and negotiating salaries with knowledge of their own high worth – we will at least have achieved equal status, which is long overdue.