I am strong because I can lift my own weight. I am smart not just because I get As. I am bold because I am not afraid to stick up for my rights.
Women are experiencing a significantly higher level of stress than men in the face of today’s challenging economic environment, according to recent research. The gender inequality still so prevalent in our society exacerbates the impact of the economic downturn on women of all ages.
Women currently report higher levels of stress than men regarding money, the economy, job stability, and the cost of housing (i). Three in five women say they are more worried and concerned rather than hopeful and confident about being able to achieve their economic and financial goals in the next five years (ii).
This is further underscored by higher frustrations among women over the lack of equal pay and perceived opportunities. Their concerns over traditional gender differences in pay are reflected in a greater call for solutions specifically addressing their worries and responsibilities. Recent findings show more than two-thirds of women believe the United States needs a strong women’s movement to push for changes benefiting women, while less than half of men agree (iii).
Unfortunately, girls have been experiencing compounding levels of stress in their own lives for some time, often mirroring the concerns held by adult women. Six out of ten girls say that they are often stressed (iv), and girls report greater worries than boys around several issues, including money, according to a study commissioned by Girls Inc. in 2006. As girls and boys enter high school, this gap only widens. Money is cited as a source of concern by 65 percent of high school girls as compared to 52 percent of high school boys. The specific worry that college will be too expensive is experienced by 56 percent of high school girls versus only 45 percent of high school boys (v).
In these difficult times, it is even more crucial to address the escalating stresses girls experience and teach girls and young women economic literacy skills critical to their lives. Girls Inc. understands these challenges and responds everyday by empowering girls to make positive choices for themselves and to grow up with the courage and vision to change the world. When a girl attends our Girls Inc. Economic Literacy® program, she is given practical knowledge about financial concepts, confidence to avoid feeling intimidated about money, and opportunities to discuss equal pay and other economic issues that specifically affect women and girls throughout their lives.
We know outdated gender stereotypes that assume girls and women cannot or do not want to master money management are dangerous and limiting, now more than ever. We are committed to investing in the future of girls and a society that is truly equitable for all, and we invite you to join us.
i. American Psychological Association (2008). Executive Summary, Stress in America, 4. Retrieved October 10, 2008, from http://apahelpcenter.mediaroom.com/file.php/163/Stress+in+America+Executive+Summary+10-02-08+NO+Embargo.doc.
ii. The National Women’s Law Center and Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. (2008). Poll Findings: Understanding What Women Want In 2008, 1. Retrieved October 10, 2008, from http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/2008poll_whatwomenwantmemo.pdf.
iv. Girls Incorporated (2006). The Supergirl Dilemma, 20. New York.
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