How Girls First Finance is Transforming Women’s Health

Equitable Access to Education and Financial Services

The Problem: Sex for Education and Jobs Is Bigger Than You Think

When girls are sexually exploited in exchange for tuition fees, passing courses, or jobs, it undermines their ability to access education and develop the skills needed to participate effectively in the workforce. This perpetuates a cycle of poverty and limits their potential contributions to economic growth and development. Because sexual exploitation can occur even where consent is technically given, it often falls into a gray area that is excluded from data collection.

In 2023, Girls First Finance Founder and CEO Andrea Pizziconi published research into this topic, including survey data to establish evidence quantifying the extent of sexual exploitation for education. The survey revealed “shocking evidence of the underestimated prevalence of Gender-Based Sexual Violence (GBSV) against young women and girls."

Out of 3,930 respondents, “71% reported being sexually pressured at least once, with 43% experiencing occasional or frequent sexual pressure. And, surprisingly, only 1% of the respondents reported incidents formally, while 2% sought assistance from relevant authority figures.” Additionally, 45% of respondents “entered relationships solely to pay for education costs.”

Global Economic Impact

According to the GFF research mentioned above, “56% of respondents turned away from education or work opportunities due to the fear of sexual exploitation in that environment. In Sub-Saharan Africa, this figure rises to 59%. These responses highlight the profound cost of reduced female productivity globally.”

A highly cited study by the World Bank states that “violence in and around schools negatively impacts educational outcomes, and society pays a heavy price as a result (with an estimate of $11 trillion in lost lifetime earnings).”

Ultimately, the sexual exploitation of girls and women hinders overall economic growth and development by depriving societies of the full potential contributions of their female populations. Addressing this problem is essential for creating an environment that fosters gender equality, social inclusion, and sustainable economic prosperity.

Girls First Finance’s Solution

Girls First Finance (GFF) promotes equitable access to education and financial services for vulnerable young women who are otherwise at risk of exploitation. Through its mobile app, GFF provides access to student loans along with tools focused on safeguarding, financial literacy, career development, and community support.

Girls First Finance supports young women directly through student loans and personal empowerment features, including mentorship, counseling, safeguarding support, budgeting tools, and positive social networking support. GFF also works with others to scale up these solutions–lenders, banks, impact investors, donors, and governments–to increase access to affordable loans and empowerment.

How Femovate Helps

Girls First Finance was awarded sponsorship through Guidea’s Femovate program for ‘23-’24.

As part of the Femovate sponsorship, product strategy, research and design experts will work closely with the Girls First Finance team to envision, define and design this transformative platform. 

For more information about Girls First Finance, visit and follow them on LinkedIn

For more information on Femovate visit and follow us on LinkedIn

For interviews please contact Theresa Neil

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The application period for Femovate 2023-24 is now closed. Follow us on LinkedIn for updates and the selected startups announcement.