Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of visiting Willamette University. I spoke with a group of brilliant students who were in their third or fourth year. Some of them were looking forward to graduation in June, others were gearing up for the transition to grad school; all of them were majoring (just about half double majoring) in typically male-dominated fields, primarily economics. The intelligence in that room was palpable.
Their professors, Laura Taylor and Tabitha Knight, invited me to come out and continue a conversation that sparked at their book club. Last quarter, the book they read was “Worth It” by Amanda Steinberg. The book focuses on the gap between women and money and ways to close it. Both in the literal sense of pay gaps leading to lower Social Security and retirement savings, and in the gap of confidence, comfort and control many women feel when it comes to finances. It was a great read and I highly recommend it for any of you looking for a book to give a young woman in your life.
Over lunch, our conversation ranged from careers in finance, to student loan consolidation, to the importance of savings and managing credit. The overarching theme was: empowerment. I encouraged these young women to do everything they could to put themselves in a position of power in all aspects of their life, many of which are directly or indirectly influenced by money. I encouraged them to be direct in asking for what they need from employers, partners and family. I encouraged them not to lose hope when they make mistakes, which they will, and that’s okay.
Sometimes, the radio, newspaper and television can make you feel like there’s nothing good happening in the world. This group of smart women reminded me there most certainly is. They’re all a part of it, and I have no doubt will continue to be. Thank you for the opportunity WU. Go Bearcats.