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The link between mental health and financial literacy for Gen Z

Open any newspaper and you will see a jarring disconnect. Headlines continue to draw attention to women and young people still struggling with the impact the global pandemic has had on our overall well-being. Just this past week a new poll revealed that a quarter of all women report being financially worse off now than they were a year ago and eight in ten now report feeling “weighed down by job and money stress.” Young people are reporting record levels of depression and anxiety and women have lost enough employment to set us back a generation.

Meanwhile, flip to the financial pages and you’ll see celebrations of the stock market reaching new highs and positive promise of economic growth. So if boom times really do lie ahead, how can we keep women from missing out?

As the president of one of the most prominent women’s colleges in the country, as well as a cognitive scientist and educator, I’ve been paying close attention to how women have been carrying disproportionate burdens of anxiety and stress due to the pandemic. Lately, as I’ve turned my attention to mentoring this year’s graduating class as they search for jobs and enter the working world, I’m struck by the very real relationship between mental health and financial and professional well-being.

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