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Empower teams up with Dress for Success on new financial education programme for women in Fingal

We need to cultivate better financial understanding in girls from a younger age. That’s according to Sonya Lennon, designer, entrepreneur and founder of charity Dress for Success Dublin. She was speaking as Empower, was announced as the first partners providing a new financial education programme, ‘Sense about Cents’.

The ‘Sense about Cents’ programme was developed by Dress for Success, supported by Ulster Bank and is being  delivered for the first time by Empower to women in Fingal.  Its aim is to help women become savvier about their personal finances.

Twenty-three participants are taking part in the pilot ‘Sense about Cents’ programme, learning how to make their money go further. Subjects include getting back to work, setting financial goals, understanding and getting value from financial products, and pensions.

Our CEO Adeline O’Brien, said it is crucial that women in Fingal are supported to take financial control of their lives and it has been great to see the progress being made by participants in the ‘Sense About Cents’ programme.

“Practically, this programme provides financial tips and promotes understanding on how to plan better for the future, providing women with equality of opportunity,” she said. “The feedback is that they feel better equipped and more empowered in their financial decision-making. This financial empowerment will help individual women, families and the community across Fingal as a whole. It’s an established fact – when women succeed, society does.”

Commenting today, Sonya Lennon said: “A serious gender gap persists in relation to financial management and knowledge, particularly in relation to saving and retirement planning.  Women are far less likely to have pensions than men; and their pensions are likely to be of lower value. We know from recent surveys that the majority of Irish women say they have no pension plan and just six per cent believe that saving for retirement is a priority.

“In part, this is due to the fact that – traditionally – women had lower workforce participation rates than men.  But it’s also due to cultural and societal norms.  I see it all the time – girls are not encouraged to discuss money.  They’re not taught how to assertively negotiate their salaries and manage their finances to maximum effect.  These are essential life-skills for everyone. 

“We need to cultivate better financial understanding in girls from a younger age to ensure they do not miss out on savings and pension planning once they enter the workforce.  By giving women the confidence to discuss financial issues within their social groups, more women will be empowered to take control of their finances.” 

Financial advisor and TV personality Eoin McGee is also involved in ‘Sense About Cents’ as a guest lecturer.

“So many Irish people have had no financial management education, and yet it’s such a crucial area that affects almost everything else in life,” he said. “Becoming smarter about your finances can have a major bearing on your life, both in the short and long term.  It’s great to see initiatives like this programme being implemented at grassroots community level.”

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