During a time period that has changed how we work and caused many of us to refocus what we value, women have continued to find ways to connect and support one another. Financial health and literacy became increasingly important. Inspired by the 2019 Women, Money, and Power Study, commissioned by Allianz Life Insurance Company, which indicated that over half (57%) say they wish they were more confident in their financial decision making, a group of women were inspired to act.
Supported by the Women@ employee resource group and Life@ benefits team, a team of five women joined together to empower their fellow community members and peers to become confident in their finances.
Setting the goal to help women at work: Minki J., Program Manager Product Testing
Leading the effort, Minki J. began with a passion for personal finance and the desire to support the Women@ employee resource group community.
Minki J. is Program Manager Product Testing (New York), brought together a group of five women to create the educational materials for a financial literacy program.
"It is my strong belief that a good financial foundation and the confidence to improve and better manage your money is one of the fiercest forms of female empowerment." Minki shared. "Bring your authentic self to work is one of our core tenets at work - and that's how the program started. Financial empowerment for women is a life mission of mine. I brought the lessons learned and templates from my previous experiences, and was able to congregate a group of superwomen who were willing to volunteer their time and expertise so that more of our female colleagues could lift up and feel confident in their money journeys as well"
Together with Nellie H., Optimization Program Manager, (Dublin), Tricia W., Business Integrity (New York City), Kirsten N., Government, Politics & Non-Profits Partner Manager (Berlin), and Monse M., Global Diversity Brand Strategy Manager (Chicago), they created a six-week Financial Literacy Learning Sprint covering education on topics like fundamental financial wealth, budgeting, debt, investing, and retirement planning (401K, pension). This small team of five volunteers created educational materials, used Workplace groups and other virtual workplace tools to connect participants for the pilot program.
Kirsten N. Government, Politics & Non-Profits Partner Manager (Berlin) gives an overview of the financial literacy program materials.
"The financial literacy program was designed to be a safe space for women to talk about their financial well-being, money matters, and to educate themselves and create more structure when it comes to these financial issues. We put together all of these wonderful materials and shared them with tons of incredible women."
Tricia W. Manager, Business Integrity (New York) speaks to the inspiration of the collective group.
Tricia spoke to the inspiration and collective aspiration of the group, "From wage gaps to pink tax to longer life expectancy, there are many financial challenges that hit women differently. We hoped to build a community of support around these challenges as much as empowering and improving confidence in managing finances."
Creating Connections and Empowering Women Globally
The pilot kicked off virtually in 2020, with 22 Women@ community members. The second cohort grew to 230 women, the third to 756 women and the fourth is set to go live reaching women across the US, Singapore, UK, Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland.
Nellie H., Optimization Program Manager (Dublin) speaks to the growth and global expansion of the program.
Nellie explained, "We've been able to scale FinLit to serve a group of more than a thousand women. There are many opportunities to serve our internal and external communities. I'm proud that through the Financial Literacy program I was able to support my colleagues in empowering them to build their financial expertise."
Monse M., Global Diversity Employment Brand Strategy Lead speaks to the program impact on the founders.
"I've never worked at a company where a group of women have come together to create something that could help so many other women at work." Monse M. explains. "I was amazed by the feedback we received from our peers who participated in the program. I love that Meta is the kind of place where women come together to create ideas, have support and access to resources, and can then bring those ideas to life and impact so many; this is true in creating community at work and through our products and services we build for the world everyday."
More about Women@
We are committed to connecting and building a community of women who feel open and connected to each other. We empower women through professional development opportunities and engage with men as equal partners in advancing gender diversity and inclusion. We celebrate the unique contributions of women to Meta.
When women are empowered, there's no limit to what they can do. Join us on our mission to bring the world closer together.
■Learn about life at Meta on Instagram (@MetaCareers).
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I'm still not sure billionaires should exist. But if they do, I think they should invest lots of money in righting some of the gender-based inequalities that capitalism—you know, that system that let them become billionaires in the first place—supports. Like systematically locking women out of tech jobs and VC funding for startups.
Therefore, I'm very much into Melinda Gates pledging $1 billion towards "expanding women's power and influence" over the next decade, starting with a $50 million investment in Chicago and two yet-to-be-disclosed cities to develop inclusive tech hubs and support women in tech.
Specific areas of investment will include:
- Partnering with Break Through Tech to increase the number of women graduating from American universities with computer science degrees, starting with the University of Illinois at Chicago
- Working with SecondMuse to align startups and investors focused on funding women entrepreneurs
Pivotal Ventures, Gates's company focused on finding innovative solutions to problems affecting U.S. women and families, launched the Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities project this week, highlighting some strong-emotion-inducing statistics on their new website:
- We are still 208 years away from gender equality in the U.S. (cue: rage)
- The percentage of women getting computing degrees actually decreased through the early 2000s, resulting in a 2011 low of 16% and not growing past 19% since (cue: frustration)
- Achieving gender equality in tech would be worth $320-390 billion dollars in total market value (cue: hope, followed by me breaking my piggy bank and sending its contents to all the women in Computer Science 101)
Chicago was chosen as the first GET City because of its developing tech and VC scene, and its pool of diverse talent, said Pivotal Ventures.
Gates's investment purposefully focuses on metropolitan hubs outside of the top five tech cities—Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and San Diego—and comes in the form of money invested in local efforts and encouragement for other funders to follow suit.
While the next two cities won't be announced for a while, Pivotal Ventures did share their rubric, which includes:
- current and future sources of diverse talent to computing degree programs and industry
- access to capital
- strength of local business and employer community
- and the regulatory and political environment
I'm taking bets on what cities will be next. Maybe Detroit, another affordable, diverse Midwestern city with its own share of startup buzz? Denver or Salt Lake City, western hubs with lots of tech investment? Atlanta, mecca of talented new grads and creativity?
We'll have to wait and see.
For now, Pivotal Ventures will keep building infrastructure in Chicago and learning what works well and doesn't, moving quickly as they go. Gates shared in a Time op-ed at the end of last year that she wanted to build on the #MeToo movement before it became a thing of the past:
"Here's what keeps me up at night: I imagine waking up one morning to find that the country has moved on. That the media has stopped reporting on systemic inequalities. That diversity remains something companies talk about instead of prioritizing. That all of this energy and attention has amounted to a temporary swell instead of a sea change.
There is too much at stake to allow that to happen. Too many people—women and men—have worked too hard to get us this far. And there are too many possible solutions we haven't tried yet.
That's why, over the next ten years, I am committing $1 billion to expanding women's power and influence in the United States."
This first $50 million investment is part of Gates's overall pledge, which will go towards creating more pipelines for women in tech and other major sectors like media and public office; fighting barriers to women's professional advancement like sexual harassment and insufficient childcare options; and putting pressure on companies and organizations in need of reform by providing more data on the experiences of women and especially women of color.
Which cities do you think should be next? Let us know in the comments!
Dell's Women in Action Employee Resource Group (ERG) provides an inclusive environment for women, enabling them to network, grow and thrive in order to achieve their career goals. Women in Action's mission is to build an inclusive community that provides development, leadership and networking opportunities designed to empower, retain and attract women.
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