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How financial capability programs can improve accessibility for migrant women like me

Three years ago I didn’t know how Australian banks worked, how to find the best gas and electricity providers, and my financial rights and responsibilities. I had no idea where to seek information and support. Finding a good financial wellbeing program helped me achieve my savings goal and improve my financial wellness.

What the course got right

I completed a five-week financial capability program that was engaging and shared lots of useful information for women who are not familiar with the Australian system. I used the knowledge from this program to achieve my savings goal. On the whole, I was happy with the program because:

  • The small number of participants created a more relaxing vibe and family-like feeling amongst the group
  • The host was respectful and not at all patronising 
  • The materials were written in simple, common language which is easy to understand if you speak English well. 

That said, I want to share a few tips that could make programs more accessible for migrant women. I want to make clear that I am not an authority on all migrant women’s experiences – I am speaking purely from my own observations.

Create less rigid eligibility and time requirements

Settling in a new country is a busy time. Flexibility is important for new migrants, but the studying options for the course were very rigid. Many participants couldn’t commit to the full five weeks and we had a few ladies drop out because of it. Participants also had to receive a Centrelink benefit to be eligible, which left out a lot of women who were not yet on social support because of different life circumstances. 

Make programs accessible for people with limited English

The program used common English, which worked for me but wasn’t suitable for people with limited English or non-speakers. I wish the program content had been translated into common languages on the website or a mobile app.

Follow up with your participants in a meaningful way

After finishing the program there was no second chance to enrol again or join additional courses for more in-depth knowledge. Some participants need and want more time, or the option to repeat the course. It would be amazing to see a follow up service or additional workshops which could support participants to fill any gaps in their knowledge in the difficult early stages of adjusting to a new country. Introducing partnerships and ongoing mentorship for participants would also be hugely supportive.

Don’t wait for us to find you, bring your program to us

I would love to see financial capability programs promoted in target communities, communal spaces and through government agencies and support services, so every woman who needs the information and support can access the same opportunities I did.

Veronika

Lived experience advocate, Women’s Financial Capability Project

Veronika is a member of a group of women from First Nations, migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, and women with disability who led a co-design process to create Lens on, hands on: An Intersectional An Intersectional Guide to Financial Capability Program Development. The free guide shares intersectional principles and practical tools to apply intersectionality to your program, including:

Want to learn more about Lens on, hands on: An Intersectional Guide to Financial Capability Program Development?

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