Why We Do What We Do

The overwhelming reaction to our mission is consistently positive but people from time to time do question why our work focuses on girls. Allow us to answer.

Our History
Invest In Girls was founded by women who work in the finance and financial services industry. They loved their work, careers and the opportunities it afforded them. However, it was impossible to not notice that there were not many women in their field. Investopedia points out that "among senior roles in venture capital and private equity, women held just 9% and 6% of the positions, respectively. Hedge funds bring that number to lower depths: women occupied only 3% of senior management roles." Our founders wanted to address the gender imbalance in their field and empower young women to take control of their financial futures.

Why Focus On Girls?
According to the United States Census Bureau, 53.2% "of unmarried U.S. residents age 18 and older who were women in 2016." Many of them are solely responsible for their finances.

The Center for American Progress further adds that in "2015—the year for which the most recent data are available—42 percent of mothers were sole or primary breadwinners, bringing in at least half of family earnings. Nearly another one-quarter of mothers—22.4 percent—were co-breadwinners, bringing home from 25 percent to 49 percent of earnings for their families. This represents an increase over previous years and is the continuation of a long-running trend, as women’s earnings and economic contributions to their families continue to grow in importance."

Increasingly, women are being put in charge of financial decisions. In many cases that responsibility impacts the lives of their families in addition to their own. That is important to note because currently only 17 states require high schoolers to take a Personal Finance course according to the Council for Economic Education.

Part of our work is to address this knowledge gap. Our organization works to increase financial literacy amongst the high school girls we serve. We touch on everything from budgeting to stock trading in our workshops. We also encourage our girls to consider careers in finance. We do this through industry exposure, internships, and role model connections. This work is in lock step with the current push for more women representation in the financial industry. A 2017 Bloomberg article described the industry rationale this way:

The moves reflect both a change in thinking and a cool business calculus. Yes, many experts agree, broader representation tends to improve corporate performance. It also happens to resonate with young people, a crucial target market for the investment industry.
— Laura Colby (Bloomberg News)


More women in finance means more successful firms. That is the view of many of the top firms in the industry and they have shifted resources to recruit more women in order to achieve this goal. 

There have been countless studies that show how educating girls, in general, have a multitude of positive outcomes. Increasing financial literacy amongst girls is good for everyone, boys included. The United Nations put it best when they said:

They can make informed choices, improving the lives of their families and communities, and promoting the health and welfare of the next generation. Empowering women and girls means empowering societies as a whole.
— UNESCO

Sources

Breadwinner Moms

A record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share was just 11% in 1960.

Breadwinning Mothers Are Increasingly the U.S. Norm - Center for American Progress

In 2015-the year for which the most recent data are available-42 percent of mothers were sole or primary breadwinners, bringing in at least half of family earnings. Nearly another one-quarter of mothers-22.4 percent-were co-breadwinners, bringing home from 25 percent to 49 percent of earnings for their families.

Why Are So Few Women in Finance? It's Complicated

Hollywood, it is often said, is tough on women. When Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director for The Hurt Locker in 2010, she became the first-ever female director since 1929 - the inaugural year of the Academy Awards - to win this coveted award. Yet Hollywood is hardly an outlier.

Why Wall Street's Finally Pushing to Add Women on Boards

The big money on Wall Street is finally throwing its weight behind boardroom diversity. After years of fits and starts, mutual-fund giants including BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group Inc. and State Street Corp. are embracing shareholder proposals to add more women and minorities as directors.

Women ED facts and figure | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

WOMEN AND GIRLS' EDUCATION - FACTS AND FIGURES For far too many, being born a girl remains a primary cause for exclusion in the 21 st century. Education is a basic human right, yet persistent inequalities in education cripples the lives of millions of women and girls, worldwide.

Additional Sources

American women hold two-thirds of all student debt-here's why

Americans collectively hold almost 1.5 trillion in student debt, but some students are shouldering more of the burden than others. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women hold roughly two-thirds of all student debt in the nation.