In this adjournment, I strongly encourage the Minister for Women to take a more proactive approach to improving financial literacy education for women, particularly young women.
This adjournment speech was given on Wednesday 17 August 2022:
My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Women. I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Diya and Angela, the two young founders and co-directors of Vida. Vida is a financial literacy educational initiative targeted at young women aged 14 to 25 and their parents. Vida knows that Australia’s gender wealth gap begins in youth. While financial literacy forms part of the Victorian schools curriculum, it is still overwhelmingly underdelivered in schools, and informal education from parents and families tends to favour young men over women. As a result over 85 per cent of young women under 35 cannot identify basic financial concepts and 41 per cent of young women find dealing with money stressful and overwhelming.
The gap in financial education means that young women are more likely to rely on others to manage their financial choices and are more likely to experience financial abuse. And when women enter the workforce, their financial disadvantage increases. On average Victorian women still earn at least 14.3 per cent less than their male counterparts and at the end of their working life retire with significantly less super than the men.
Vida aims to tackle the gender wealth gap in its infancy by providing workshops on personal finance basics for young women. So far it has been a remarkable success. Participant feedback is extremely positive, and Vida are seeing growing demand for their workshops. As demand grows they are hoping to expand their horizons and share their project and their services more widely. Improving young women’s financial literacy is an important step in addressing the gender pay gap and women’s economic and financial disadvantage, both of which I know are priorities of this government. Particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, where women were disproportionately affected by job losses and industry shutdowns, it is even more important that we invest in programs that aim to close the gender wealth gap. I would strongly encourage the minister to take a more proactive approach to improving financial literacy education for women, particularly young women. I ask the minister to meet with Diya and Angela to discuss Vida’s work and how she can support them to partner with more educational institutions to deliver their fantastic program.