Women. Money. Freedom.

Even in the earliest months of the pandemic, it was clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to wreak havoc on the economy. In April 2020 alone, 20.5 million jobs were lost. What was not anticipated was that 55% of those jobs lost were women. Women of color were hit hardest of all. Unemployment rates for Black women increased to 16.4% and Hispanic women to 20.2%. The numbers have not gotten much better since then, sending women back into precarious financial situations. 

Women in the United States were already financially vulnerable. In addition to the burden the pandemic put on individuals, many women were forced to serve as the caregivers for children or their parents. This put working women in a situation where they were unable to produce an income or were otherwise required to be financially dependent on another.

Persistent gender roles around money leave women particularly exposed. Eight in ten women in the US will be solely responsible for managing their finances at some point in their lives. Yet, 56% of women–61% of millennial women–abdicate major financial decisions to others. Women 65 and older are 80% more likely to be impoverished than men of the same age. Low-income women and women of color face heightened barriers to building and maintaining wealth.

The challenges that women face when it comes to personal finance are troubling. The reasons behind it are varied and often ingrained in society. In addition to being steered into lower-income careers and basic inequities in pay, women are less educated in basic financial management. 

In October 2021, HFLA of Northeast Ohio hosted a virtual screening of the 2021 documentary film, $avvy. $avvy questions why women often take a backseat to managing their money by investigating the historical, cultural, and societal norms around women and money in the United States. The virtual documentary screening for $avvy took place October 10, 2021 and was free for registered guests. Robin Hauser, the film’s director, joined a local panel of women to discuss the economic status of women in Northeast Ohio and how we can improve women’s financial empowerment. 

HFLA of Northeast Ohio’s mission is to provide interest-free loans to promote the economic self-sufficiency and growth of Northeast Ohioans who are unable to access safe and fair lending resources. We provide three loan types: Standard loans to address financial situations that may arise; Business loans to entrepreneurs starting a business; and Education loans to students in Northeast Ohio. Sixty percent of all of our loans go to women, with 70% of all COVID-19 Emergency Loans in 2020 going to women.

In hosting the viewing of this important documentary film, HFLA seeks to bring light to the lack of women’s financial literacy and autonomy and have actionable conversations on how community organizations can work together to strengthen Northeast Ohio women’s financial independence. Please join us for this important conversation. 


Watch the trailer here: finishlinefeaturefilms.com/savvy/

Stream the film! Available from December 1, 2021-December 21, 2021: Whistler Film Festival | $avvy

Get involved, contact us:

Assistant Director: Carrie@interestfree.org

Development Manager: Hillary@interestfree.org