What is the Impact of Being Female and Financially Literate?

Approaching this next step in my Cohort 21 adventure was, to say the least overwhelming!  I had such a broad topic, but great ideas (or so I believed). Eventually, I took my own advice to my students and drew a big picture brainstorm… I was looking at the impact on students, teachers, parents, myself… and then my awesome coach said one word… WHY?

“Create a vision board, define your why clearly, give us your back story and use your empathy, which I can so clearly see you have,'' was the advice Sam @swelbourn gave me. It seems so easy when she says it… yet so hard to write it out on paper!

So I will start with my why…
Why am I here at Trafalgar?
Why am I participating in Cohort 21?
Why am I leaning towards financial literacy and business for my action plan?
Why do I want my students (and my own children) to be financially literate?
Why do I want my students to put their money in the right place?

It all comes down to three things: mindset, skills, and real-world application.

My backstory is pretty simple, I grew up poor. I was raised by a single mom, who didn’t work because she grew up with the belief that the “father worked and the mom stayed home to take care of the children". And then, they divorced. We grew up using welfare, food banks, and sometimes living in the dark with no electricity or heat. I went to work at the age of 14 to help support our family of 5. Eventually, I graduated from university with a $46,000 debt (which I am happy to say was paid off before I was 40). But I had no concept of investments or even how to balance a budget because it wasn’t taught at school and I certainly didn’t learn it at home.

Working at Trafalgar has provided me the opportunity to promote women and finance, to demonstrate the importance of life skills, to help my students extend their knowledge, and to help them to make connections between learning and the real world. It has and will continue to allow me to foster confidence and self-assurance  within my math classroom. Today I am thinking about the importance of being a woman and being financially literate. I am imagining how empowering this skillset is over a lifetime. This is one way that I will choose to empower the girls I teach to have a voice & choice in their future.

My action plan for Cohort 21 is developing, by starting with a look at women and finance. I plan to extend this learning into providing teachers with the ability to implement a program in their classroom; perhaps with a continuum throughout each grade, perhaps with a resource for teachers to access, perhaps with an assistant to ease implementation?

As I  work through my ideation process, I realize that I will need to interview both students and teachers before I can really identify my action plan. I am excited to begin my interviews and will report back soon. 

I welcome any feedback, suggestions, or connections to help me out in this process! 

7 thoughts on “What is the Impact of Being Female and Financially Literate?

  1. Garth Nichols

    Thank you so much for sharing this Penny. They say education is a calling, and your "why" speaks directly to what called you to education.

    You have the right plan - starting with students and faculty. But know that there are many incredible resources out there as well for women in finance and financial literacy.

    I look forward to reading more!

  2. @psenior Wow, I want to echo the sentiments above. What a powerful post - thank you for sharing about your own life and reflecting on how it impacts your "why." I can't wait to see where you go with this at our next Face 2 Face session, when you really get the chance to dig deep and think big. And you thought answering one why was powerful, wait until the 5 whys!

    I'm also working on a vertical alignment of skills question, so let's be sure to connect and chat about that, too!

    Congrats on everything so far, I can't wait to hear about your interviews and see where you go from here as you get in front of the right question concerning a very important topic.


  3. @psenior, I'm so glad I finally allowed myself into this incredible read this evening! Your approach and process is thoughtful and thorough, and your honesty is inspiring. You are modelling a growth mindset by placing your action at the heart of your own experience and the motivation that has grown from your experience. You have me thinking about the vital importance to all students that we find pathways to connect and validate individual experiences of life. I can't wait to follow this action and to see where the design process takes you during our next f2f. Awesome! Thank you Penny.

    @lmustard @jgravel @swelbourn

  4. Leanne Foster

    @psenior This post exemplifies why you are such a powerful role model for our girls. You understand your "why" and use it as a guidepost for everything you do in the classroom. Thank you for sharing your story. It's an honour to read.

    Finding ways to help your students make personal connections to financial literacy is key to making those lessons stick. Think about the degree to which young girls feel drawn to issues around social justice. Is there a way to help them see connections between what they are learning and the lives of others whose stories are compelling? It's difficult for some girls to envision themselves as grown adults who will "need" what your teaching but they love hearing stories of others. Perhaps use the experience of other young women as at a starting point for some of their investigations and then help them work backward to make personal connections.

    Can't wait to see where you take them!

  5. @psenior I am beyond happy to read the comments above and hear how others have been touch by, and are responding to your story. Your post is brave, it is honest and it is you owning your story. There is so much power in the level of self-acceptance you have demonstrated here. During our conversation, it was such a beautiful moment watching you step into knowing that this was the root of your "why" here. Your girls will be inspired, because of your passion and authenticity and there is no doubt that those lessons will be long-lasting. I am so excited about this action plan journey that you are on and proud to work with you each day!
    @lmustard @gvogt @edaigle @gnichols @ Dr. Leanne Foster


Leave a Reply to Eadaoin O'Boyle Cancel reply