February 26, 2024
Elizabeth Moloney-Geany
What Would She Do?
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What Would She Do? Drive Meaningful Change with Her Money


It has been a few weeks since International Women’s Day, and many of us will have participated in workshops, morning teas, or other well-intentioned activities on the day. But then what? How can we take the conversations, the energy, and the focus from IWD and translate that into change throughout the year?

March 8th - International Women’s Day - has been celebrated globally since 1975 when the date was set by the UN; however, various Women’s Days have been organized and celebrated as far back as 1909.

These days, it is most often an opportunity for companies to market how supportive of women they are, with cupcakes and inspirational speakers.

This year, particularly, I’ve sensed a degree of frustration among my peers that this is what it has been reduced to. No meaningful change, no meaningful action.

History of the Day

The history of IWD is much more grassroots and grittier than most of us would realize. In 1910, German activist Clara Zetkin proposed an annual International Women's Day at a conference of socialist women in Copenhagen. The following year, on March 19, 1911, the first IWD was observed in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, with more than one million people participating. Women demanded the right to vote, to work, to hold public office, and to end discrimination. In 1913, IWD was recognized in Russia for the first time, and in 1917, it became a catalyst for the Russian Revolution when women went on strike for "Bread and Peace" on March 8. The strike led to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the granting of suffrage to Russian women.

Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that what we want is to trigger a violent revolution; however, it does raise the question of what change we are seeking when we gather every March 8th.

Where are Women Today?

In NZ, the women who most need change are those who are head-down, bum-up working on International Women’s Day. They are likely unaware of the morning teas and ladies’ lunches occurring in corporate settings as they are largely in low-wage, long-hour roles, or in caregiving positions (whether paid or unpaid) where their focus is on others, not themselves. Women make up 48% of the workforce but are overrepresented in the minimum wage bracket, as 63% of those women are on minimum wage. We’re all aware that in addition, these statistics are worse for women of color. The median NZ hourly wage is $33 for men compared with $30 for women; however, if broken down further, we see that it is really $29/hour for Asian women, $28.29 for Māori, and $28 for Pacific women on average.

It's estimated that it will take another 50 years to eradicate the pay gap in New Zealand, meaning not only will our daughters still be paid less than our sons, but our granddaughters will still be fighting for equality!

And then all this pales in comparison with the plight of women worldwide, where, according to the United Nations Population Fund, there are more than 1.2 billion women and girls living in countries affected by armed conflict or insecurity. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has rolled back women’s rights to the level of oppression we had in the 90s. In Ukraine, where we are two years on from Russia’s invasion, 90% of all refugees who have fled are women and children, creating a need for a gendered response to this particular refugee crisis. Most recently, the Israeli genocide in Gaza has led to the death of at least 9000 Palestinian women since October 2023 – a rate of 63 women per day, which shows no sign of stopping.

What Can We Do?

In the face of such a bleak outlook locally and worldwide, it’s no wonder that we become overwhelmed and focus on our own careers, colleagues, and families. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing?

Here’s the good news; the spin; the positive take on all this - For those that have freedom, now is the time to use it.

In my case, I have the workplace freedom to have started the What Would She Do brand, to provide tailored financial advice to women in an attempt to make a difference in women’s lives. Often the impact is small, but sometimes it is life-changing.

So what change can you make in 2024?

Here are five ways you could use your own freedom and power to help other women:

1. Start your own business – especially if it can help women in your community. There are plenty of amazing women-run businesses out there, but there’s always room for more. If you aren’t ready to start your own business, how about just making sure you support women-led businesses near you?

2. Host an event (e.g., Pink Ribbon Breakfast) to raise awareness or money for women’s causes. There are no shortage of causes out there, just make sure to pick something close to your heart, and if an event is too much, you can volunteer your time or money as you’re able.

3. Impact Investing can be a great way to use your money to both benefit yourself and make a positive change with your dollars. You can invest in women-led companies or in companies that take action to improve outcomes for women and help yourself and others in one hit.

4. Be a role model for your daughters, and sons! Not only talk to them about money but simply talk about money in front of them. Model open and healthy conversations with your partner, where you are an equal contributor, and your approach to managing household finances is valid and valued.

5. Keep talking to other women in your life – not just on IWD but all year round - about everything financial, including pay and career. So many women are nervous to make a change, to ask for a pay rise or promotion, or just don’t know whether they are in a good position or not. By introducing the conversation around money, we can reduce the stigma and improve outcomes for our friends, family, and colleagues.

We have just over 11 months until the next International Women’s Day; how much could we accomplish in that time? If you need some inspiration, advice, or moral support with your financial goals, then the first thing to do is reach out to us and make an appointment. Let us help you articulate your goals, map out a course to get you there, and then work with you so you have a guide to keep you on track when life gets in the way.

We’re here for you 365 days a year – not just on March 8th – help us keep the conversation going.


My Role as Your Adviser

I see my role as a Financial Adviser not just to advise on individual aspects of your finances, and certainly not to simply transact on your behalf. My role is as a guide, to help chart the course, provide scaffolding and support as you progress and redirect you if you’re getting lost in the weeds. Most of our regrets, I have found, come from not having started sooner. So, let’s start today.

About Elizabeth

Hi, I'm Elizabeth, one of the Financial Advisers here at Velocity Financial. Day-to-day, this involves engaging in conversations with clients about their lives, families, aspirations, and, of course, financial goals. In a big picture sense, though, I'm driven by my perpetual desire to improve outcomes for individuals and, eventually, communities. At Velocity we aim to bolster the financial literacy of Kiwis, helping to alleviate financial anxieties, and opening up the possibilities of what can be achieved. We empower our clients to formulate a plan for the future. I'm particularly passionate about assisting women in reaching their financial goals and feeling confident in managing their money. To aid in this, I write a monthly blog on topics that affect women and maintain an Instagram page @what_would_she_do.vf. This platform provides financial content for those who might not be prepared to consult with an adviser yet but still require and deserve sound advice. In my past life, I was a nurse, so helping people is essentially my modus operandi (I'm also quite resilient and not easily grossed out!). During my spare time, I'm likely attempting to keep up with my energetic kids. If I do manage to find some time for myself, you'll find me curled up with a coffee and a book.

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What Would She Do?

Elizabeth is the author of the monthly blog What Would She Do? A column for women, by women.

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Disclaimer: Elizabeth Tsikanovski (FSP693611)is a Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial (FSP95466). No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. Please see Elizabeth’s disclosure statement on our website.

Always get professional advice

The information shared in this post is meant to be general guide to support you on your journey. When making important decisions about your finances, we encourage you to seek independent financial advice first, tailored to your unique situation.  As well as talking with a financial adviser, make sure you talk to your lawyer and accountant too – together they'll help you find the best solution for your specific situation. Our knowledgeable financial advisers are here to help. Check out our website for the details about our financial advisory services in our disclosures  https://www.velocityfinancial.co.nz/disclosure-statement.

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