Girls pursuing real world, daring solutions

How stop shouting into the void?

Last week I was lamenting the dreadful amount of venture capital afforded to women founders. I ended the blog with a plea for your ideas on how we could change that. In hindsight, it was a little desperate. After poring over the statistics, I was a little salty.

So I decided to look for some good news. Lo and behold, just like The Law of Attraction says, when I focused on the good stuff, I found it. Like Julie Andrews sang, turns out when we want to affect a change, we should start at the very beginning.

Not your mother’s Girl Scouts

Back when I was a Girl Scout, selling cookies was a means to an end. Mostly, I wanted cookies. I don’t remember learning much about finance in the process. When I was leading my daughters’ troop, we attempted to teach the kids about basic finance and philanthropy through the process. But we were making it up as we went along.

Casey Cortese, a director at Charles Schwab and a former Girl Scout herself, is changing that. Cortese, working with the Schwab foundation, has partnered with the Girl Scouts of the USA to change the way girls earn their financial literacy badges. There’s a nice LinkedIn Q&A piece Schwab did to promote the initiative. Teaching kids, but especially young women and young women of color, early on about how money really works is essential to true empowerment.

Beyond home-ec

My mother was a Baby Boomer and the prevailing money mindset for most women of that generation revolved around household budgeting. Not surprising since the likelihood of an unmarried woman being able to obtain her own bank or credit account was pretty slim until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974.

What she taught me about money was how to scrimp and save it. Consequently, that led to a significant scarcity mentality that I’m still trying to overcome. Now that my own kids are adults, I’ve found out that I passed it on to them as well.

Scarcity: it’s not pie

Scarcity as an economic concept is valid, especially when viewed in terms of resources or commodities. Clearly, it’s a bad idea to use water in the West to sprinkle lawns in Las Vegas. There’s a finite amount of water in the Colorado River Basin – it’s scarce.

But when we view personal finance in the same way, it can lead to poor decision making. Think of it in the same vein as the fight or flight response – and look at the toilet paper or milk aisle of the grocery store before a big storm. That instinct served our ancestors well, but jumping into cryptocurrency might not best fit our personal financial goals.

True grit

If this pattern is any indication of why women founders have difficulty finding and funding venture capital in 2023, we might have a chance of fixing it. Letting go of deeply ingrained detrimental money habits is hard. Determining your “why” takes time and plenty of introspection.

One of the best things that my mother taught me was grit. It seems to me that a lot of women founders have the same toughness and determination. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have made it this far. Imagine if we collectively shift our money mindset from scarcity to abundance what we could accomplish.

Here’s the challenge – if you’re a woman with the means to fund another woman entrepreneur, do it. A lot. If you’re the recipient of those funds, and you make it, pay it forward. A lot. The only way to overcome this crap is by volume.

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