What messages do we send to young girls? Image: Getty

There is a famous finding from a 2016 study of pocket money in Australia: girls make $ 9.60 a week while boys make $ 13.

The Heritage Bank study did not investigate the reasons for this, but another study from the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that girls did not do less housework or work.

In fact, they do more: Australian girls aged 10 and 11 spent an average of 10 minutes more per day on housework than boys in 2012.

It’s just one of the unconscious lessons we teach young children about money, and it has long-term consequences.

Shaky foundations

The children’s financial literacy is broadly balanced, but the way girls and boys handle money is not. Image: Getty

According to a study by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) published in July last year, there is no gap in the overall achievement of financial literacy between 15-year-old boys and girls.

However, there were gender differences in attitudes towards money. Australian boys were more likely to enjoy talking about money, while girls at the time of the survey felt that money matters were not relevant to them.

In addition, girls reported having less access to financial education, both in and out of school, than boys who reported having received information from friends, the media and school.

Girls also grow up disadvantaged because they are statistically less involved in their family’s financial decisions, according to a recent study by the Melbourne Institute.

“Children are always watching us. It doesn’t matter how much we talk about how things are to be done, they end up repeating the behaviors that they see us quite often, “Women With Cents’ financial expert and founder Natasha Janssens told Yahoo Finance.

“So if there’s a subject where dad takes care of the bills and dad knows how to fix the car and fix the lawnmower… and mom is more about bringing people together and knowing how to cook a fantastic meal then that’s usually what kids do. “

She believes the first and most important step for Australia’s parents is to take a careful look at their own relationship with money, both as individuals and as couples and parents.

The story goes on

Then it’s about talking to your kids about money.

“[Start] to encourage and nurture their curiosity and entrepreneurship about the ways in which they can make money, ”said Janssens.

“Instead of teaching girls to ask mom for pocket money, instead of saying, ‘Okay, what would you like to do? How else can you earn this? ‘

“We know that for girls we often have to pass down very outdated habits over generations and have to be able to stand on our own two feet, regardless of whether we want to be a mother at home or not.”

Compound challenges

Girls are being marketed more than ever.  Image: Getty

Girls are being marketed more than ever. Image: Getty

Janssens also believes that the school system and parents could do more to undo deeply ingrained gender teaching about how we spend our money.

She fears that parents of girls have an additional hurdle when it comes to financial literacy.

“[Young girls] have never been marketed to anymore. If we look at how our parents grew up and how I grew up – today they just ran Youtube, ABC Kids, an educational game on the phone and adverts, ”she said.

Across both sexes, they teach children to “want, want, want” to be, but for girls, that “want” is built into a larger discussion than just a toy or snack.

Rather, girls on Instagram and TikTok are bombarded with messages about how they look.

“It doesn’t matter what we teach them [about values and money] At home, they watch their friends being taught various things and being encouraged to spend money on their looks. And I just want to point out to parents that this is the news now that we are going to set it up for in the future, ”she said.

“Then a lot of money is spent on maintaining our looks and making us feel worthy and good enough.”

What happens in adulthood?

Woman inserts a coin into a piggy bank, toned image

What happens to us as adults? Image: Getty

The financial skills gap in children may have disappeared, but for adult women it is still a pressing problem.

The latest Australian Household, Income and Labor Dynamics Survey (HILDA) found that there is widespread illiteracy across Australia – especially among young Australians.

Regarding 63 percent of men, only 48 percent of women understand at least three basic concepts of financial literacy.

“Such widespread illiteracy in the financial sector is increasingly worrying given the highly complex financial markets, high levels of individual and household debt and easy access to credit,” said Professor Alison Preston of the University of Western Australia Business School in March 2020.

Because COVID-19 and its associated financial challenges are still an issue, this issue will not be addressed.

The latest financy women index from December 2020 showed that women remain in financially more insecure positions than men despite the improved unemployment rate.

And more than one in five female employees reported severe or moderate financial stress in 2020, according to AMP’s 2020 Financial Wellness Report. That’s almost three times the number of men reporting the same level of stress.

However, that doesn’t mean the situation is bad. After all, the literacy gap for children has narrowed.

Téa Angelos, founder of the Smart Women Society and advocate of financial aid, believes schools are now doing much more to teach children about financial literacy.

And while she believes that linking financial literacy with real-world concepts for students, like paying for their formal attire for 10th grade, is the next step, getting a good attitude early on is much more dependent on financial support To establish money.

“Our attitudes to money and our beliefs and attitudes towards money as adults are ultimately shaped by how we grew up with money, how we grew up with it, what we learned in school and how our parents and other people deal with money . ” She said.

“How we grow up with money [can] form really limiting beliefs around money. Hard to change that the mindset of money is difficult to manage and stressful. Money is a tool to improve my future. “

But teaching girls that is crucial, she said.

Take control of your money and learn to maximize it with the women’s money movement! Join the club LinkedIn and follow Yahoo Finance Australia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagramand subscribe to the free Fully Briefed daily newsletter.

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