Investing in Women grant to fund financial literacy workshops for Newcastle women

Friday, 2 August 2019

$25,000 funding will help Faculty of Education and Arts researchers develop financial literacy programs for women.

Gender Research Network coordinator Associate Professor Trisha Pender and Senior Lecturer in Social Work Dr Tamara Blakemore, both of the School of Humanities and Social Science, have received $25,000 ‘Investing in Women’ funding from the NSW Government to develop financial literacy workshops for women in Newcastle.

The workshops are designed to enhance women's financial knowledge, independence and security and the knowledge and responsiveness of care providers to financial issues.

Through consultation with specific community stakeholders, peak bodies and key industry partners, Associate Professor Pender and Dr Blakemore will develop tailored financial literacy workshops for particular community demographics, including Indigenous women, CALD (Culturally And Linguistically Diverse) women, LGBTIQ+ people, women survivors of domestic violence, women who have had children removed from their care, women in public housing, and women with disability.

“The workshops aim to deliver an immediate economic benefit to participants, butwill also have flow-on effects in terms of social, health, and quality of life outcomes,” Associate Professor Pender said.

Newcastle is facing increasing economic pressure due to record lows in affordable housing, high levels of household debt, and slow wage growth and Associate Professor Pender said women often bear the brunt of this.

“We know that women are at disproportionate risk of financial disadvantage due to the gender wage gap, career interruptions, unpaid labor and caring duties, Pender said. “By the age of retirement, women have accumulated roughly half the superannuation that men have and often financial abuse goes unaddressed due to lack understanding and resources.”

“There’s a lot of shame attached to conversations about money and often people feel that if they don’t know something they are reluctant to expose that, so they don’t ask for help with money,” Pender said.

“Having people come together in person to talk about these things is a way to rid themselves the of stigma of shame. Everyone has their financial quirks and fears and getting people to talk about them can be empowering,” she said.

“Financial literacy education that is targeted to women helps break systemic cycles of disadvantage, enabling economic participation and security, improved quality of life and reduced social isolation,” she commented.

A multi-disciplinary team of University of Newcastle researchers from the Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, Business and Law will conduct research on best practice in financial literacy education for the target communities and will collaborate with community partners to design the program.

A pilot program will be delivered towards the end of 2019 and will produce workshops for four targeted women's communities in Newcastle,with the aim to build the project into a Hunter-wide program within three years.

The financial literacy workshops will be held in conjunction with UON’s Social Work in the City Hub (SWITCH).

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