If you’ve been around here for a while, chances are you’ve come across this bright and badass woman. Perhaps you’ve seen her smiling face (and fabulous earrings!) on our website, social media or in an ad or two over the last couple of years? At the very least, you would have read her writing, as the witty wordsmith behind lots of copy here at Verve. Well, we thought it was high time you got to know her a little better, and why she’s so passionate about helping women talk about money.
A ‘wear your heart on your earlobe’ kinda gal
Hey Verve members! I’m Carmen Hawker – a lover of tea and teller of stories, who worships at the altar of Beyoncé, Jacinda and every AFLW player. I am also a copywriter, campaigner and feminist small business owner over at CARMEN GET IT! . Helping purpose-driven businesses to share their work with the world and look good doing it. I guess you could say I’m a ‘wear your heart on your earlobe’ kinda gal, so when I find things I love – like Verve – I want to find any way I can to support them and spread the world.
Making herstory together – the story behind her connection to Verve
I started my career in women’s health and women’s rights work, and I was lucky enough to work closely with Verve CEO and Co-Founder, Christina Hobbs, back when we were part of not-for-profit organisation The Global Women’s Project. So, when she got in touch with me to say she was thinking of starting a super fund for women, I couldn’t sign up quickly enough.
Do you know where your super is invested?
I remember Christina speaking on VWT’s Money Power Freedom podcast about how ludicrous it was that Australian superannuation companies were investing in armaments propagating the conflict in Syria, where she was working for the UN World Food Programme at the time, and that no one really knew about it. I realised that I, too, didn’t know exactly what and where my super was invested – nor did I really think of it as ‘my’ money. But it is! Your super is your money. So if you wouldn’t hand over $5, let alone $50,000, to fund things like guns, fossil fuels, or companies that exploit women – why would you let a super fund do that on your behalf?
Channelling intersectional feminism into super
I soon connected the dots between the fact that I didn’t know much about super, and that there were companies making a lot of money by keeping us in the dark, or at least benefiting from people like me not digging a little deeper.
Women have been taken for granted for far too long when it comes to their super. Financial institutions have not done nearly enough either to understand our unique needs or what we care about, or invest meaningfully to even the playing field when it comes to financial literacy. Now I’m not saying that women all have the same needs or care about the same things; they absolutely don’t. But what I am saying is that things like not being paid super on parental leave, the persistence of the pay gap (and gaps within the gap), as well as the financial impacts of the thousands of hours of unpaid care work that women do – these things do impact all of us and we have to be talking about them.
Wearing ‘bad with money’ like a badge of honour
For years I’d worn being ‘bad with money’ like a badge of honour, partially to mask my shame that I didn’t understand all the jargon, and partially as a way to challenge the ways patriarchal and capitalist systems measure our worth and our wealth. This label was something I’d internalised very deeply and something that, when I decided to start my business, I knew I had to get over pretty quick smart.
The question that changed my money story
My feminist politics helped me really challenge and change my money story, because one thing we get very used to asking as feminist campaigners and activists is: who benefits? Who benefits from my lack of knowledge? Who benefits from me thinking I’m bad with money, or from me being too afraid to ask questions? Well, it certainly wasn’t me. And it wasn’t the women around me either.
Think of it this way: if you’re convinced you’re ‘bad with money’ then you have no choice but to hand its management over to other people. Not only are you putting your fate in other people’s hands, but you then can’t tell if they’re doing a good job or not. It’s the ultimate con. We don’t all have to be mathematicians or accountants (thank the goddesses!), but we do all deserve to be in a position to make a choice about where we want our money to be. So, you could say, Verve started me on a rapid journey towards changing my financial future!
Getting more money in the hands of more women
This desire to change my money story, soon turned into wanting to help other women change theirs. And so in 2020, I helped launch the education platform Ladies Talk Money, where I recorded an episode about super and talked a lot about Verve and the impact of asking ‘who benefits?’. These days, I feel like I’m basically talking about money and super with anyone who will listen, and I’m on a mission to get more money in the hands of more women through my business. Whether that’s by collaborating with other women-run businesses, writing copy or creating campaigns for women’s organisations, or by co-designing products for my online store with the many talented women makers out there.
Now I can’t imagine a world without Verve
Until Verve came along, there was no one way to end investment in fossil fuel and make sure that companies had representation of women on their boards, while simultaneously helping women define and increase their wealth – individually and collectively. It’s unique and I love it.
I have little doubt that there are some very worried people in some very fancy offices watching what Verve is doing very closely. In fact, I know they are. And they should be worried. They simply have to do better!
So, I love that even if someone isn’t with Verve, and where you invest your money is a very personal decision, they are still benefiting from the work that Verve is doing to change the system and make our future fair.
A big thank you to Carmen who has been one of Verve’s poster gals since Day One, and worked tirelessly to help us build and grow this community of passionate people. If you’re in the market for a witty and wonderful copywriter and storyteller for your business, be sure to CARMEN GET IT!, or pick yourself up some fabulous earrings or feminist stationery at her GET IT! Store and support women-makers in the process.
Every woman has a unique story, and every story is unique in its power to improve the lives of other women. So, if you are a Verve Super Member, we’d love to hear your story. Send us an email and let’s do this: email@example.com