5 minutes with Australia’s young women of influence | Mariam Mohammed
Each year the Australian Financial Review presents its list of the leading women influencing Australia’s culture, economy, law, politics and society. This year more than 10 young women were named in the list. We wanted to find out who they are, how their work influences and relates to young people’s experiences of employment and transitions, and what visions they hold of young people’s futures in Australia.
Mariam Mohammed | Co-Founder MoneyGirl
1) What do you think is the most important issue for young people in Australia face today and why?
I think the biggest issue young people face is never sitting down to understand our relationship with money, and how critical this is to their futures.
2) Why do you think this is an important issue for young people?
With money, we end up making choices that don’t necessarily align with our values. We chase consumerism, try to keep up with the Joneses. For no reason other than just because. It’s a huge problem in our modern capitalist and individualistic society.
We say we care about climate change but continue to consume fast fashion with questionable supply chains, and buy packaged food and drinks from the biggest polluters in the world.
But the thing most young people don’t realise is that every third dollar in circulation in our economy is spent by young Australians – that is significant purchasing power, and we should choose to exercise it to effect change in the systems and structures around us.
3) How does your work impact young people and their futures?
Despite the purchasing power young Australians hold, only 24% of us understand the basics of money.
MoneyGirl isn’t about throwing a bunch of information at you that young people can just Google at home. We do learn about money together but more than that, we’re a community of young people who want to shift mindsets and relationships with money.
4) In your own life, what ideas or experiences have you found most influential in developing skills for the work you do?
Wanting to regain control of my life after being sexually assaulted by someone I trusted. This experience made me value my freedom and independence – the power to make my own decisions.
But everyone deserves the freedom to make their own choices. By leaving our money decisions to someone else in our life, and never learning how to do it ourselves, we lose that freedom.
5) Looking towards the future, what would you keep, change and create to make education or workplaces better, fairer or more relevant for future generations?
Keep: The willingness to find education models better suited to the future of work
Change: Decades-old curriculums that do not prepare young adults for their futures and their future relationship with money
Create: Curriculums and delivery models better aligned with the diversity of human behaviour and the needs of the planet’s future.