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As I was on my way to help out the newly formed Women’s Empowerment Club at Dimond High School, a friend of mine said, “Why is this still a thing?” I reflected on that and at first blush I might have agreed. I mean more girls go to college than men and there are laws in the workplace against discrimination. Perhaps we have arrived. If you are one of my social media friends, you know I will check the facts of what you post and call you out on it if you didn’t do your homework. So I set out to check the facts.

Here are a couple of jaw droppers that I found:

  • In US Fortune 500 companies, only 4% are run by women
  • In Alaska for every $1 a male makes a women makes 79 cents

Here are the stomach turners:

  • Sexual assault of children in AK is almost 6 times the national average (predominantly female), KTUU yesterday
  • Alaska women are 3 times more likely to be sexually assaulted then the rest of the nation, last week’s headlines
  • Native women are 9.7 times more likely the victim of those crimes, the Atlantic

If this didn’t upset us enough, I then read UAA’s resent research.

Where I work at Alaska Permanent Capital, I’m proud of our rare high concentration of female professionals. It wasn’t something planned, but helping people with the most important financial decisions of their lives often seems maternal, so very natural. I think we empower female clients (and male) every day either through non-judgmental assessment of their finances, or one of our many empowered women, smart money education seminars. Given the statistics above, we were compelled to do more.

Now the uplifting part of the blog, teen girls in Alaska are taking charge, and you can help! Last year, in a joint effort with Charles Schwab & Company, we rented the Bear Tooth Theatre for the first annual Girls Empowerment Summit. We hosted a sell-out crowd for the Empowerment Project movie and a chance for teens to mingle with amazing women leaders from our community.

From that summit, the Women’s Empowerment Club at West inspired teens at Dimond to start their own club. Watch the news clip here.

It is our goal to help foster a club like this at every high school in Anchorage. In these clubs, teens, both male and female, are elevating the conversation. They are inspired and motivated to forge their own path to be change agents in our community to break down the barriers and improve the economic and social standing of all women.

If you want to help, October 19th is your opportunity to DO SOMETHING:

  1. Chaperone a teen who may not have a ride to the second annual Bear Tooth Girls Empowerment Summit
  2. Have an interesting career? Volunteer to be an adult leader that day. It will only take one hour of your time (call me for space).
  3. Bring the flyer to your neighborhood high school
  4. Support a Women’s Empowerment Club at your neighborhood high school (buy pizza, volunteer to speak, help them find a teacher advisor, etc.)
  5. Empower yourself.  Take over your finances, attend one of our empowered women smart money seminars. Get a financial plan, we will teach you how. Just ask – no judgement.

The necessity of bringing awareness to women’s issues in Alaska ‘is a thing’ and you can help. Join us in helping yourself and the next generation!

Laura Bruce, CFP®, ChFC®
Director, APCM Wealth Management for Individuals


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