In 2021 I was lucky enough to win a place on the Social Entrepreneurs Ideas Academy for an idea I had. My idea centred around helping women to break through barriers to improve their financial wellbeing, and in turn, break through social mobility barriers. The programme is specifically aimed at women who have been subjected to financial abuse and are struggling to rebuild their financial capability and resilience.
Financial abuse is not only detrimental to a woman’s financial health, it also has negative consequences for her emotional and mental wellbeing. The negative effects of financial abuse are intensified further by the lack of understanding surrounding the topic of financial abuse and its impact on the abused person. This can make it difficult for the abused individual to recover and rebuild her life after undergoing sustained financial abuse.
Financial abuse can lead to a lack of financial knowledge and financial confidence for the abused individual. Unfortunately, the financial abuse may continue, even long after the individual leaves the financially abusive partner. This can occur in many ways, such as inflicting unnecessary financial outlays on the abused individual, sabotaging their employment, and damaging much needed assets, such as the individual’s car.
The “Breaking Social Mobility Barriers After Financial Abuse” programme aims to provide women with the necessary financial knowledge and skills to successfully progress to the next stage in their life. It also aims to develop a growth mindset in this group of women which will help them to set goals to work towards reaching a higher financial wellbeing, and as a result, achieve upward social mobility. Becoming financially literate is one of the most empowering things these women can do. The programme teaches them how to manage their own finances, helps them to regain control and give them the knowledge they need to rebuild their life after escaping.
What is Social Mobility?
The topic of Social Mobility can go very deep, but I will keep it basic for now. The aim of this is to simply highlight the adverse effects of financial abuse on social mobility.
In simple terms, ‘Social Mobility’ refers to the upward or downward movement of individuals from one social class to another. It is the shift in a person’s social status from one status to another. The shift can move in a number of ways, however, for the current discussion, we are just concerned with upward mobility and downward mobility for now.
Upward mobility refers to the movement of an individual from a lower position in society to a higher one. Whereas downward mobility is a person moving from a higher position in society to a lower one. Many women who have experienced financial abuse will subsequently experience downward mobility and move into a situation of poverty and deprivation. Once a woman moves down, it can be very difficult to move back up.
Although policies have progressed over the past few years, the issue of financial abuse in intimate relationships is not being adequately addressed. Until policy makers take a proactive approach, the prevalence of financial abuse will continue to rise, and those experiencing the abuse will inevitably face downward mobility.