Financial Education How Women Are Helping Women Better Their Financial Futures

by the editorial team at Citi | August 21, 2020

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Given the rate of change over the past half century, it will take nearly 40 more years for women to reach pay equality with men.

You read that right; according to a projection by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, median-earnings parity between full-time male and female workers won’t occur until the year 2059 if the current trend line holds.

The gender wage gap – now at roughly 18% — is just one in an array of factors impacting how women today establish themselves financially and grow their wealth. But perhaps more than ever before, momentum is building to break down the obstacles that women face in achieving financial freedom – especially when it comes to knowledge.

Two women championing this cause are Tori Dunlap, 26, founder of Her First 100k, a money and career platform for millennial women; and Bola Sokunbi, 35, Founder and CEO of Clever Girl Finance, an online financial education platform for women. Dunlap and Sokunbi live on opposite coasts. They have very different backgrounds. Yet each of them, independently, came to adopt a similar mission: to work to change the prevailing dynamic and help empower women to be the agents of their own financial success.

Dunlap lives in Seattle, WA, and Sokunbi is a Nigerian native now living in New Jersey. Both proved that they could meet ambitious personal-savings goals before they turned their attention outward to help other women. They are part of a movement of like-minded “financial feminists” aimed at connecting women with knowledge and resources to change their financial outlook.

What does financial feminism mean? “To me, it is women taking charge, taking control of their lives and being able to make decisions that are best for themselves, for their children, for their family,” Sokunbi says.

“I think when women have money, [we] feel free. You feel like you have choices,” Dunlap notes. “I get messages every day from women now that my advice is changing their lives, which is the coolest thing in the world, but also reaffirming that this is so needed.”

Sokunbi explains that there has been a generational shift for women, and financial education is key to this transition. “A lot of women are the breadwinners. They're sole household earners, they’re single moms. They’re choosing not to get married,” she says. “We are opening businesses at record paces. Despite the gender wage gap, many of us are earning more money than our mother or our grandmothers made. So, we’re in this space where we now have to pay attention to our finances, but we haven’t necessarily been given those skills. They haven’t been passed down to us generationally because that’s just not something that happened.”

I think financial feminism is giving women the financial resources to be able to change the world.
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Unlike many of her peers, Dunlap did receive a financial education at a young age. “I had parents who were supportive of me and whatever I wanted to go do. I think the coolest thing and the privilege that I have was, I had a great financial education from my parents. I learned how to save. I learned how to budget,” she shares. Dunlap says she now considers it her responsibility to share that gift of financial education with others.

“I think financial feminism is giving women the financial resources to be able to change the world,” says Dunlap. And changing it they are.

In the video above, Dunlap and Sokunbi discuss their own paths to financial freedom and how — and why — they are helping other women achieve that goal, too.