Girl Up!

The fun bookclub-like GIG (Girl Investment Group) program supports you and girlfriends, workmates or new 10thousandgirl friends to complete the 10thousandgirl Personal Finance Program. The aim is to learn the principles behind personal finance and investing in an engaging, supportive and light-hearted environment.

GIGs are all about learning the life and finance skills we need to know but often didn’t learn at home or at school. Supported by interactive webinars, videos and beautiful workbook materials, 10thousandgirl supplies the Personal Finance Program with an agenda and learning materials for each meeting, and you let your group know what time and who’s bringing tea, treats or wine.

Financially empower yourself while 10% of your program fees go toward providing a microloan for a woman to start a new business and lift herself and her family out of poverty. Pretty inspiring!


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 Want to find out more?

Here’s an overview of GIGs (Girl Investment Groups) and the NEW 10thousandgirl Personal Finance Program.

Interested and want to find other like-minds in your area? Register your interest.

Already decided this is for you? Here’s the Steps to Getting Your GIG Started.

Currently a financial services professional looking for opportunities to financially empower women in your local area? Interested in a Mentor opportunity? Read on…

Are women’s networking groups in fact the new gentlemen’s club? Are we narrowing gender gaps or creating further divide? 

These are the questions running through my head as I sit at my emails and receive my 5th invitation to a special women’s event this week. Is it my circle or my imagination or are things really in the flip.

In the ‘old days’ there were gentlemen’s clubs, men’s lounges, smoking rooms…. sayings like ‘man and wife’.

Sometimes I see the world like a pendulum. We swing one way, something happens, we correct ourself, we swing back, sometimes (often) over correcting.

I know having recently been approached by many men about offering a similar program to 10thousandgirl, I am in the process of creating an ageless genderless ‘10thousandgirl’ (obviously with a different name) and in addition, not as a replacement to the women’s only programs that currently exist. I am acutely aware that we continue to experience mass gender divides in the household and workplace within Australian society and that the inequality and subjugation of women around the world is still extreme, unfair and profound.

We rarely hear of the sex trafficking of men.

But at the same time I am aware of over correcting and not entering a world of reverse discrimination. What are your thoughts?

In looking to the future, should we be encouraging more women’s groups, events and support mechanisms or should we be creating more neutral genderless opportunities going forward? Will we over correct in our women focused efforts or are our femme centric efforts indeed fair and due?

Written by a pondering Zoe Lamont on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

It has been a wonderfully busy month in the land of 10thousandgirl and in the personal landscape of its individuals.

International Women’s Day events between friends’ weddings and birthdays, radio interviews and a visit to Channel 10, heading to Wagga Wagga for a workshop, talk giving, programs starting, Sydney workshops, moving furniture, attending seminars and fixing cars. Then there is the myriad of other interesting, fun and important things the Steering Committee, Board, Supporters, Team and Partners are doing in their professional and personal lives! March has flown by in a fluttering heartbeat.

In this whirlwind of activity and hopping from one thing to the next, how do we appreciate what we have done, reflect on insights we have had and capture learnings so we know more and can do better next time?

One of my favourite ways is by talking with others. This theme keeps springing up all over the place, so I thought it would be a good time to bring some focus to it! Some of the most consistent feedback 10thousandgirl gets from its workshops are comments from young women saying:

  • that they now realise they are not alone in their situation;
  • that they got so much value from hearing about the experiences of others in the room; and
  • by sharing with others what they had accomplished so far they’d received a new appreciation for what they had achieved to date.

It is by speaking with others, listening and sharing stories and experiences that we can recount what otherwise may seem a whirlwind; discover tips, tools and techniques to move forward in certain areas; firm up ideas by receiving other people’s perspectives; and bask in some inspiration and motivation.

Just in the past week I have heard bout the benefits of the iPad vs Kindle for reading, learned about a software that is going save me sooooooo much time in the office, found out where to get the best ricotta cake in Sydney, which red lipstick is favoured by a friend and why and picked up some efficient tips on running events.

So if you want to learn and share experiences professionally – join an industry networking or mastermind group.
If you want to learn and share experiences around a hobby – join a club, class or association.
If you want to learn and share experiences around your plans for the future and brainstorm around how to best manage your money, attend a 10thousandgirl workshop, start a GIG or spark up a conversation online via

This month, focus on starting conversations with colleagues, friends, family, people in online forums, commuters on the bus and the person next to you at the coffee shop. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how useful a little piece of information or new insight may be. And if a chat with a stranger doesn’t go so well …well you’ll have some material for a funny story to share later!

Here is to sharing!

Photo Credit

I AM A GIRL – following my dream of gender equality
By Rebecca Barry

A few years ago I was moved to tears as I read a magazine article about the plight of girls. Despite technological advances and the abundance of wealth, today we live in a world that openly discriminates girls. Being born a girl becomes the basis from which the most incomprehensible violence, health issues and abuse transpires.

Knowing this information bought me to the point where I asked myself the question, what can I do about this? I decided to make a film that could reach out to a broader audience to inform and also give people the opportunity to connect and do something through transmedia.

The vision for the I Am A Girl is pure and simple – to weave a universal story through the voices of ten girls in ten different locations around the world dealing with different challenges. It is my dream, that when finished this film becomes a tool to use in every classroom and one that the community reflects upon and inspires action. I am excited by the change this film can bring to the world.

You can watch the trailer here: and help us make it happen by donating and sharing this link with your friends.

So far this film and online project has captured the imaginations of many individual and organisations including Documentary Australia Foundation and philanthropic donations from the Intrepid Foundation and Women’s Plans Foundation. We hope you can help our dream come to life and the improve the lives of girls everywhere.

To find out more visit

If you really want to fight poverty, fuel growth and combat extremism, try girl power.

We know what the birth of a revolution looks like: a student stands before a tank. A fruit seller sets himself on fire. A line of monks link arms in a human chain. Crowds surge, soldiers fire, gusts of rage pull down the monuments of tyrants, and maybe, sometimes, justice rises from the flames. But sometimes freedom and opportunity slip in through the back door, when a quieter subversion of the status quo unleashes change that is just as revolutionary.

This is the tantalizing idea for activists concerned with poverty, with disease, with the rise of violent extremism: If you want to change the world, invest in girls.

Read more from Time Magazine about the opportunities and social shifts that occur when investing in girls and how a new US initiative Girl Up ( is leveraging resources by mobilizing 100,000 American girls to raise money and awareness to fight poverty, sexual violence and child marriage.

The Best Investment, Nancy Gibbs, Time Magazine, February 2011

Thanks to those passionate bold femme pioneers before us, we in Australia almost take for granted the fact we now have the right to vote, the ability to apply for a mortgage and own a house and will soon see equal pay. For a lot of women around the world however, this is still their dream.

The 8th March 2011 marks the 100th Anniversary of International Womens Day (IWD). That is, 100 years since a woman by the name of Clara Zetkin, the leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. The following year meetings and protests were held across Europe with the largest street demonstration attracting 30,000 women. The day sparked great public debate, and advocates drew attention to the absolute necessity of extending the right to vote to women to make parliament more democratic.

Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike with the aim to make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.  Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. It is an occasion to review how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change. Read more on IWD

IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

10thousandgirl is celebrating this event on 9th March, announcing 2011 as the Year of the DareDreamer. Our dream is to see every young woman across the world with the ability to save, with appropriate insurance and with dreams that are alive and contributing to an exciting future for herself, her family, her community and the world.

WHEN: Wednesday 9th March 2011
TIME: 5.15PM for a 5.30PM start until 7PM
WHERE: Level 1 at Angel, 125 Pitt Street, Sydney CBD (Martin Place or Wynyard)   VIEW MAP
RSVP: Monday 7th March by 5pm to

We welcome all friends of 10thousandgirl, our valued volunteers and corporate and government partners, media and future interested parties to join us for a glass of sparkles as we come together to share the campaign plans. Help us celebrate the lives of women with a message from the Hon MP Kate Ellis and the Australian Government Office for Women and special guests Miss World Australia Ashleigh Francis, Professor Robin Stonecash and three of our own 10thousandgirl DareDreamers. A surprise activity will conclude the evening.

For questions, please call Arienne 0403 259 459.

Now I’m no feminist but I do have enormous respect for anyone who’s a pioneer. Here’s a celebration of some fabulous women. Loving Greers advice, a true leader.

AAP Feminist Germaine Greer expects news that her face will grace an Australia Post stamp in a series celebrating Australian legends will receive a mixed reaction.

“You might find it (the stamp) on lavatory systems all over Australia,” she joked.

“One little stamp of an old lady.”

Professor Greer and three other feminist Australian trailblazers – Eva Cox, Elizabeth Evatt and Anne Summers – appear on the stamps after receiving Australian Legends Awards which are presented each year as part of Australia Day celebrations. All four women rose to prominence in the 1970s, addressing women’s inequality in Australia and overseas through writing, activism, judicial work and advocacy.

The sometimes controversial academic said she was proud to be an Australian and still travelled the world on an Aussie passport.

Her advice to young women?

“My advice is don’t follow the advice of a 72-year-old. Make it up yourself,” she said.

Ms Cox, whose Jewish family fled Hitler’s tyranny in Austria and arrived in Australia as a “refugee kid” was an early member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby and involved in setting up the first federally funded after-school centre in 1973.

She said her story was an example of why governments should not always follow opinion polls.

“I am actually an immigrant and I was a refugee child, and if Australia had followed public opinion polls in 1947 saying don’t admit Jewish refugees, I wouldn’t have made it,” she said.

Journalist and author Ms Summers, who helped found the first women’s refuge in modern Australia, said despite some important recent milestones in the women’s movement, more needs to be achieved.

“The view around is that because we have a woman prime minister, a woman governor general … a lot more woman in high places than we have had before, that everything is hunky dory,” she said.

“It is fabulous that we have women in these positions, but that doesn’t mean that the world has improved as much as we wantit to or as much as we need it to.”

Read more on these women:


Imagine applying for a loan at a bank. Easy enough you may think, but wait. You have no job, no credit card history, no income, no education, and no assets. What are your chances of getting a loan? Not going to happen, or as Barbara, Australia’s most beloved bank manager would say: “Go away.”

That’s why the first time I learnt about microfinance a massive light bulb went on in my brain. Microfinance institutions (MFI) lend small amounts of money exclusively to poor people in the third world so that they can start or grow a business to help them get out of poverty.

The would-be entrepreneurs may use the money to start a bakery, buy livestock, supplies for a food stall, or make handicrafts. The business then gives them a livelihood so they can repay the loan and generate a long-term stable income.

So why microfinance and why should I care?
Statistics serve to highlight the gross imbalance of global economies and wealth distribution. Statistics like: almost half the world (over three billion people) live on less than US$2.50 a day*; and that the poorest 40% of the world’s population account for just 5 percent of global income*.

Often statistics fail to paint the picture for me – the figures being too big or too overwhelming to comprehend from the comforts of a first world living room.

That changes though whenever I go travelling and I get to meet the human faces behind a statistic. Like the time I met 12 year old Jyotika (pictured), who makes a living everyday in Goa, India selling bracelets to tourists on the beach. She’s never been to school, can’t read or write Hindi but speaks very good English, and even a little bit of French and German which she learns from the tourists. Jyotika finds her life on the beach “boring”, but like her four other siblings, must work to help the family.

One of the reasons why microfinance appeals to me is that it does more than increase a household’s income, but gives women and their children greater control of their life. In addition to poverty, disease or war, being born female is a double burden in some cultures. By providing women in poverty with loans and savings, microfinance is one way to empower women by giving them more control over household assets, more freedom, decision-making power and greater access to participate in public life.

The views on Microfinance – Pros and Cons
Bill Gates raised some important issues in a Smartplanet video in April 2010 that highlights the pros and cons of microfinance. He states that microfinance alone will not eradicate poverty, but “is an important element in letting poor people improve their condition.” He further explains that microfinance as a single strategy will not solve poverty but must be done alongside other strategies such as a savings plan, improved health care and female literacy to name a few.

Gates further states that perhaps the most measurable or ‘provable’ benefit of microfinance amongst women is in not the economic but rather the behavioural or social factors. It is the act of getting the women together as a group and getting them to act on issues like birth control that makes the work of microfinance worthwhile. Microfinance serves to be an important vehicle in which women can come together as a collective to discuss issues and be politically active when their needs are not met.

Gates has made some really interesting points and you can view the short video here

One of the things to keep in mind if you want to support the work of microfinance institutions is to be aware of bad microcredit, as not all MFIs or programs are the same.

Although microfinance can raise borrowers’ standard of living and help reduce poverty, it has been criticized in situations where money is used to support a person’s current consumption rather than to start or grow a business as a long term solution out of poverty. For example, some loans are used by entrepreneurs on general household expenses or even to purchase goods like a television etc.

An important issue or question to consider when choosing a MFI to support is whether they have a set of clearly defined measures of success, eg. Does the MFI measure the income growth of household over a period of time, quality of housing, school enrolment and improved nutrition/ health?

Why lend – the collective power of micro.
When I learnt about the pros and cons of microfinance it lead me to the question of why lend?

In the end I decided that the pros far outweighed the cons. Microfinance is simply one strategy and not the only strategy in which we can help alleviate the complex problem of poverty.

Most importantly, microfinance is a real way to enable women to improve their quality of life and the children they care for. I also believe that the ‘hand up not a hand out’ philosophy is a powerful way to bring positive social change to third world communities.
And finally, the reason why I lend is because it is so easy to stop watching from the sidelines and get involved. With a few clicks at the computer I can make a very small loan (e.g. $25) yet make a big impact with thousands of other people making small loans – the collective power of micro.

For example, Kiva is an organization that offers an online platform where you can lend US$25 to entrepreneurs or MFI’s from around the world. Once you have made your loan, the money is repaid directly back to your account over a period of time. You then have the choice of re-lending the money to another MFI or entrepreneur. It’s a real kick to watch your money work its way around the world – from India to Mongolia to Palestine. It’s addictive and you can learn more about Kiva here:

10thousandgirl has partnered with a MFI called Opportunity International – find out more:


Photo by Ida Ng

Ida Ng is a blog contributor for the 10thousandgirl project, and has worked in various communications and marketing roles. She learnt the hard way that her crazy spending habit was the only thing keeping her from her dreams.

Publication: “Well Heeled” blog published online in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times and other Fairfax publications.
Publication date: 10 March 2010
Journalist: Anneli Knight

“Melbourne’s Recital Hall was packed to full house last night to see a public lecture delivered by Nobel Prize winner and founder of the Bangladesh microfinance bank Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus. World Vision chief executive Tim Costello gave the first speech of the evening and said if there could be one magic bullet that might solve world poverty it would be to empower women…”

Read the full blog online or download the PDF The magic bullet – Well Heeled – The Age Blogs.

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