FeminEast aims to create a safe space for women in Eastern Europe to support each other in learning about handling their money- from saving to investing and everything in between.
Across the globe, women earn less, save less, hold less secure jobs and are more likely to be employed in the informal sector. Given that they have less access to social protection and are the majority of single-parent households, their capacity to absorb economic shocks is therefore less than that of men. - UN Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women
With more career breaks, higher healthcare costs and lower salaries, there is an urgent need for women to have more targeted financial education from an earlier age.
Further research suggests that ‘safe spaces’ are important for being able to share useful resources and have vulnerable conversations. Imagine a situation in which a small group of friends would gather and share knowledge on how they manage their finances, set goals and keep each other accountable in reaching those goals.
“Sudden drops in income and unexpected expenses have put extra strain on many, while others have been able to save, but do not know how to make the most out of their savings” - Financial Times
The Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have left women and minorities even more financially vulnerable than before. Over the last few years, many have had to take on additional unpaid care work for children and other family members whilst others undertook work in the informal economy in order to cope.
Women and minorities need tools that can help develop financial resilience in these situations — the ability of individuals or households to resist, cope with and recover from negative shocks with financial consequences (G20/OECD-INFE Report).
Why Financial Education?
Women cannot level the playing field if they are not financially empowered. While there are many areas of potential improvement, FeminEast focuses on financial education since over 70% of women in Eastern Europe do not have any savings. Women and minorities are often reliant on their partners or family for important financial decisions and have a hard time accessing resources independently. Financial education does not solve all problems, but being able to make financial decisions independently is the start we wish to offer.
But what is Financial education? According to the European Commission, it “is the process by which financial consumers/investors improve their understanding of financial products, concepts and risks and, through information, instruction and/or objective advice, develop the skills and confidence to become more aware of financial risks and opportunities, to make informed choices, to know where to go for help, and to take other effective actions to improve their financial well-being”.
Leaving aside buzzwords and ‘get rich quick’ schemes, FeminEast wants to start conversations about financial decisions among friends and encourage more women and young individuals to set goals and assess their progress in reaching them.
Why Eastern Europe?
According to Eurostat, Eastern European countries have the lowest level of financial education in the EU, some as high as 80% of adults being considered financially illiterate.
Moreover, the online resources available on the internet are not catered towards the countries and people that need the information the most. With a simple Google search you can find an abundance of information about Western solutions, tools and resources yet almost nothing applicable to Eastern countries.
We want to enable change by mapping resources and providing advice that is relevant to the reality women live in, be it in Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine or elsewhere. We will do this by learning from each other in our conversations network and with help from a team of on-the ground volunteers that will talk to banks, insurance companies, pension funds and others to understand what financial opportunities are available. The first unaffiliated, centralized place for resources.
We also need to consider other risks — the world has evolved to a place in which we can now access complex investments, cryptocurrencies and stocks from the screen of our phone. Without a financial education, Eastern Europeans are more susceptible to scams and schemes meant to trick them into risky financial decisions.
Is to grow into a movement of women taking charge of their finances, learning to navigate financial terms and systems and being confident in managinf their income.
Unlock the secret to true happiness by educating yourself What if I told you that the key to lasting happiness lies not in accumulating wealth,