Financial Literacy: From a Feminist Lens 

As spring shows its lovely blooms and the weather warms, it’s timely to think about financial planning as we prepare our income tax and take stock of our financial picture. The United States has designated April as Financial Literacy Month and its stated purpose is to call attention to the need to maintain healthy financial habits. The Federal Reserve Board reports that almost half of all Americans do not have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency. The Board also reports that student loan borrowers collectively owe $1.5 trillion and a study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign states that nearly half of the study’s emerging adults are financially precarious (32%) or financially at risk (36%). Women are three times as likely as men to say they can’t afford to save for retirement. Women earn less and thus save less, but their living expenses are the same as men’s beginning right out of college. On average, women make about 20% less than men working full time.

Our two guest speakers, Dr. Laurel Beedon, Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) and Dr. Abigail Sara Lewis, American Association of University Women (AAUW) will discuss the complex issues facing women of all ages as they navigate a lifetime of managing money from her first salary negotiation to planning for retirement which needs to begin with that first salary.

Dr. Beedon recently retired from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) where she was a Senior Analyst in the Education, Workforce and Income Security Division. She is currently volunteering as a Senior Research Fellow at WISER. Previously she was a Senior Fellow at the National Academy of Social Insurance, Senior Policy Adviser at the Public Policy Institute, and, prior to PPI, she was at the Social Security Administration’s Offices of Research and Statistics and Governmental Affairs. She has numerous publications and was a faculty member at George Washington University. She is currently a member of the Alumni Advisory Board at Virginia Tech University.

Dr. Abigail Lewis is the Vice President of Programs at the American Association of University Women where she oversees the Salary Negotiation program, leadership and campus initiatives and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) efforts. Previously she was at Barnard College, most recently as Associate Dean of Pre-Professional Advising. Dr. Lewis has worked and taught at Rutgers University, New York University and the CUNY Graduate Center. She holds a Ph.D. in History from Rutgers (with a certificate in Women and Gender Studies), a B.A. from Columbia and a M.A. from UCLA, both in African American Studies.

Note: AAUW was founded in 1881 and is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. They examine and take positions on the fundamental issues of the day, educational, social, economic and political. AAUW initiated a program entitled “Start Smart and Work Smart” which teaches young women how to identify and articulate their personal value, how to develop an arsenal of persuasive responses and other strategies to use when negotiating, how to conduct objective market research to benchmark a target salary and benefits and about the pay gap, including its long term consequences on their lifetime earnings and retirement saving.

WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policy makers understand the important issues surrounding women’s retirement income. The organization has been able to reach thousands of women through workshops held across the nation. It has been the driving force behind a series of state and local events on long-term financial security aimed at leveling the playing field for women. It is the leading source of financial training and technical assistance by providing model programs and interventions that reach women who have traditionally not had access to this type of financial and retirement education.

CWI meetings are free and open to the public. We will bring some light lunch refreshments. 

RSVP to attend the meeting is required. Click here to RSVP.

Next CWI meeting, Noon Tue. May 28, 2019. "A Feminist Approach to U.S. Foreign Policy" organized by Megan Corrado, CWI VP for Global Issues.

Check www.womensclearinghouse.org for meeting cancellations. The 11 Dupont Circle entrance is on New Hampshire Ave., across from the Dupont Plaza Hotel. Metro stop: Dupont; south exit.

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