Financial Literacy for ALL!

By: Alice Murray

One of the best things about being at a higher education institution is the opportunity to turn your crazy ideas into reality. When I saw a group of middle school girls get onto the metro together one day, I was reminded of the World Bank’s Girl Effect – focusing on 12 year old girls to tackle issues surrounding poverty. How could this mentality be used domestically? How could I play a part in empowering girls at this crucial age to take ownership of their future and create a healthy and stable life for themselves and their families?

While it may not seem like the obvious answer, I landed on jewelry making. A skill that I have and am willing to share, beading offers entrepreneurial opportunities in a fun and creative format. The Public Service Grant Commission funded my project to bring basic financial literacy lessons to a group of girls at Washington Global Public Charter School through BEAD: Beading for Entrepreneurial Advancement and Development.

Every Thursday afternoon my girl gang meets to hear about a successful female entrepreneur, have discussions about profit, pricing strategy, and budgeting, and make some wearable art. At the end of the 10-week program we’ll be taking a field trip together to Eastern Market so sell the fruits of our labor and experience business in action.

It’s a small dent in a large issue. Financial literacy rates are lower in areas with lower median incomes, for minority populations, and among women and girls (see Social Security Administration Data here). Additionally, only 4% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are female ( and empowering girls in business continues to be important to major women’s rights activists like Melinda Gates.

Thanks to the Public Service Grant Commission I can try my hand at research-based interventions that face these intersectional issues head on. We are in the third week of our curriculum with a group of nine 6th and 7th grade girls. It will be exciting to evaluate this program at the end of the semester.

To get more news about BEAD follow Washington Global Public Charter School on social media here:

…and look out for future announcements about our Eastern Market sale date!