A new children’s book that puts a twist on traditional fairy tales to challenge gender stereotypes has been released.
Fairer Tales: Princesses Doing it for Themselves looks to tackle the financial gender gap by showing that women can achieve their goals independently.
Award-winning author Emma Dodd reimagines the tales of three beloved fairy tale heroines, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, in the illustrated book.
Rather than waiting on Prince Charming to save the day, the young women use their own acumen and skills to realise their happily-ever-afters.
In the book, published by HSBC UK, rather than attending the ball in her uncomfortable glass slippers with the hope of meeting Prince Charming, Cinderella makes and wears her own snazzy trainers, going on to launch her own shoe design business.
And instead of being rescued by a Prince scaling up her long hair, Rapunzel cuts it off to use as a rope and escape the castle herself, which she then rents out to Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.
Finally, while the traditional Sleeping Beauty waits to be woken up and saved with a kiss by a handsome prince, the new book sees her save her pocket money so that when she wakes, her savings have grown.
Copies of the book will be distributed to primary schools across the country in a bid to help build the confidence of both young girls and boys in financial management and assist parents and teachers in talking to children about money.
It has been released after research found there are differing levels of financial confidence between boys and girls.
Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of girls claimed they didn’t “understand money” compared to just 52 per cent of boys of the same age.
Girls were also less likely to think they were good with their pocket money compared to boys (51 per cent of boys and 43 per cent of girls).
Laverne Antrobus, psychologist on ‘The Secret Life of 4 and 5 year olds’, consulted on the book and said: “From early childhood, gender stereotyping through popular culture and the stories we tell our children plays a key role in shaping attitudes towards key issues such as finance.
“Ensuring that both boys and girls can see empowered female characters is important in building confidence and understanding of what girls can achieve independently.”
The HSBC UK study also identified disparities between how parents talk to each gender about money.
While 64 per cent of boys had received a talk from their parents about finances, just 54 per cent of girls the same age had sat down to have the conversation.
Michelle Andrews, Head of Mortgages and Savings at HSBC UK, said: “Almost a quarter of parents reported finding it difficult to talk to their children about money, with half of these saying they didn’t know how to explain monetary concepts to their children.
“Our hope is that ‘Fairer Tales’ will help inspire confidence and interest in financial literacy and make it easier for parents to talk to their children about money.
“We believe that if we can engage and inspire young people about financial literacy early on in life, we will see more children growing up to feel empowered and take control of their financial futures.”
The book can be downloaded as a free e-Book or audio book from https://www.hsbc.co.uk/savings/financial-education