Today it feels depressing to write about violence against women but inappropriate to write about anything else.
If you are reading this from the UK, you’ll know that a man kidnapped a woman from a well-lit London street two weeks ago. What began as an unexplained disappearance became an all-too-familiar nightmare unfolding in the British media in real-time, as we learned that this woman, Sarah Everard, has allegedly been murdered by a serving police officer. The subsequent outpouring of grief, anger, and stories of women feeling or being perpetually threatened by men is reminiscent of #MeToo.
In the same week that a UN Women survey showing that 96 percent of women aged 18-24 years old in the UK have experienced sexual harassment in public places, you might conclude that ‘low-level’ harassment is nothing, really, because women are so horribly accustomed to maneuvering our lives around it.
What do these disturbing statistics have to do with money?
A world where women are subject to violence because of their gender is the same world in which many women lack the education to navigate the financial arrangements that abusive partners might use to control them. This is a world in which gender inequality persists, and wherever you find yourself on that spectrum of inequality, it’s not your duty to solve it. Your safety should not depend on what you’re wearing, any more than your access to equal pay for equal work should depend on your ability to ask for it. But, if this is the world we live in: what to do?
To draw a clumsy parallel, JUNO aims to be your financial equivalent of self-defense. A woman’s knowledge to navigate a financial system made by men, for men, is a knuckle-duster on a dark street: alone will not solve systemic inequality, but it helps.