Last Friday, October 11, was the second ever “International Day of the Girl.” A day to celebrate girls, and hell yes a celebration was needed. Then a roll up of each sleeve and getting down to business. Do you know what the International Day of Girl is all about? The United Nations website states:
“On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.”
I am humbled to know that this day exists. We do have a few days in the calendar year that champion women, but sometimes I think the teenager or young girl is lost in that conversation. They are deal with first world problems like pressure from their peers (girls or boys), body image, rape, teen pregnancy, negative portrayal of girls in the media, or abuse, or third world problems such as genital mutilation, sex trafficking, violence, hunger, disease, and child marriage. Some of these issues are both first and third world problems.
My thoughts at the moment go to education, role models, and mentors. Do girls today have good role models? Where some might be privileged enough to have someone like Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook as their role model, others may need to have someone very tangible, local, and present as their role model. Do women in local communities have the time, patience, and dedication to be there for girls? Are you there for a girl in your life? I do not know many girls locally that need a mentor, but it has made me think more about being one.
Nike, Inc. started The Girl Effect many years ago. This year for “International Day of the Girl” they have put together The Girl Declaration. You will want to watch this video from The Girl Effect. I love near the end, where it says: “This is for every girl in the world. Who has a voice that must be heard.” I am also sharing the full text of The Girl Declaration below the video. Please be sure to explore The Girl Effect website about the Girl Declaration. Share it with others. Girls voices need to be heard.
I have not really followed Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) or her new book that was just released. Last week on Facebook I saw this quote and had to share it. Maybe I like it because I was a bossy little girl. Go Sheryl.
Then I found this letter to Sheryl Sandberg from Daily Worth founder, Amanda Steinberg, and I had to share as I agree with the letter. In it, she mentions a TIME magazine cover story, where Sandberg says of her husband: “He manages our money,” she says. “I have essentially no interest.” (page 5 of the TIME article). This comment is what Steinberg is reacting to in her letter.
Each and every woman should have a stake in and understanding of their personal finances. It does not mean that we always understand everything 100%, but we should try. I know too many women, that make a good living and would willingly turn over their hard-earned income to the man in their life, because they do not understand how to manage their finances. Please stop.
I know that it might be the easy way out, but you are not doing yourself any service by giving your money over to the man in your life. You are giving away your power. I would be the first to say that I do not always understand each and every part of our finances or retirement accounts. There are often little details that confuse the crap out of me, but the key is that I try to make sense of it. I want to know. I do not give up my power to my husband. We share the responsibility of our finances and make each and every decision together.
So in light of Sheryl Sandberg, and her great success as a woman, I encourage all women out there regardless of income level to care about their finances. It does not mean that you have to manage your finances day-to-day, just care about understanding them. You might pay someone to manage your finances, your husband might handle them, but set up a time each week or month to review your finances with whoever is handling them. Make a point to understand how much you are spending, and how you are saving. If you do not, to me it is like having someone take care of your children, yet you do not know their style. Which means you do not really know what is happening, right? I agree with Steinberg, all women should feel confident managing their money so that they are able to live life on their own terms.