International Women’s Day: Spotlight

As part of International Women’s Day, we want to highlight two examples of amazing work that is increasing girls and women’s financial confidence to help them secure their financial futures.

Global Sisters work on Financial Capability

A group of 4 women close together smiling

In Australia, over 1.5 million women are financially excluded. This is in the context of increasing income inequality, child poverty rates, single mum households and numbers of older women becoming homeless due to insufficient superannuation and assets.

Global Sisters exist to make business possible, unlocking the potential in every woman to own her economic future. Global Sisters offer women the opportunity to improve their own financial situation by providing the hope, skills, connections and experience to create self-employment. They have worked with over 1200 women since inception in 2016.

Financial capability is a critical foundation to business creation, income generation and self-employment. In order to make business possible for women in Australia, Global Sisters work to make sure they have the financial knowledge, soft skills and confidence to apply them in their personal and business finances. The organisation’s on ground experience across Australia has strongly indicated that stand-alone financial capability interventions that are not connected to a specific, relevant purposes (i.e. developing a business) seldom work. Therefore, Global Sisters have integrated financial literacy and capability interventions into a “roadmap” of long-term support to women, applying principles of “just in time”, rule of thumb, social & peer learning, confidence building, tools access and practical application.

Global Sister’s flagship business education programs, My Big Idea workshop and Sister School, help women put in place the financial foundations of running a business including costing, business models, pricing and sales. Importantly, they also address money mindset; helping women to be aware of where they are starting from and gain an understanding that this will change as they change, and their business develops.

Multi-year support from Ecstra is enabling Global Sisters to deepen their impact and digitally scale financial literacy and capability programs across Australia.

To join Global Sisters, head to the Join Us section of their website.

Cassandra Portelli, Head Teacher of the Mathematics faculty at Hunter School of the Performing Arts in Newcastle

School kids sitting on steps raise their hands with a teacher looking on
Cassandra Portelli (far left) demonstrates the importance of financial literacy education

Cassandra Portelli is the Head Teacher of the Mathematics faculty at Hunter School of the Performing Arts in Newcastle. In her 27 years of teaching she has made it a priority to embed financial literacy education across faculties and schools.

In 2016 she won an inaugural CHOOSEMATHS Award for innovative teaching. In 2018 she was the recipient of the NSW Premier’s First State Super Financial Literacy Scholarship and travelled to The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Canada and the US to research how other countries celebrate Global Money Week and how can these ideas be applied in Australia.

One of the ideas bought back to her school was the publication of students’ stories around money. ‘Money Talks’ (2019) is the result of a financial literacy competition run at the school where students submitted answers to the question: “What is the smartest thing you or someone you know, has done with their money?”

In 2020, Cassandra was successful in applying for the Moneysmart Funding for Principals of Secondary Schools. The school is using the funding to celebrate Global Money Week with a competition inviting the students to demonstrate financial literacy through their chosen performing art.

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