2 October 2018

Traditional fairy tales reimagined to tackle financial literacy gap between boys and girls

  • With financial attitudes shaped as early as five years old, new book challenges traditional gender stereotypes in fairy tales
  • Parents of daughters twice as likely to find it difficult to speak to their child about money
  • ‘Fairer Tales’ by Emma Dodd now available as a free e-book and audio podcast

HSBC UK has joined forces with award-winning author Emma Dodd to publish a new, free illustrated children’s book, ‘Fairer Tales: Princesses doing it for themselves’. Written especially for children ages five to seven, the book challenges traditional gender stereotypes in fairy tales, showcasing the potential of women and girls to achieve their financial goals independently.

New research on financial literacy commissioned by HSBC UK found that there are differing levels of financial confidence between boys and girls. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of girls interviewed felt they didn’t “understand money” compared to just over half (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 vs 43 per cent of girls).1

“Fairer Tales reimagines the stories of three beloved fairy tail heroines: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel,” says Dodd. “In this modern re-telling, rather than waiting on Prince Charming to save the day, these young women are determined to use their own financial acumen and entrepreneurial skills to realise their happily-ever-afters.”

Laverne Antrobus, psychologist on television programme ‘The Secret Life of 4 and 5 year olds’, collaborated on the book. “Financial attitudes are shaped as early as five years old2, and gender stereotyping through the stories we tell our children and popular culture plays a key role in shaping attitudes towards key issues such as finance,” says Antrobus. “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 new study by HSBC UK also identified differences in how parents talk to each gender about money. Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of boys had received a talk from their parents about money compared to just over half (54 per cent) of girls of the same age.1

“Almost a quarter of parents reported finding it difficult to talk to their children about money, with half saying that they didn't know how to explain monetary concepts to their children,” says Michelle Andrews, Head of Mortgages and Savings at HSBC UK. “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.”

Fairer Tales is available to download as a free e-book or audio podcast at https://www.hsbc.co.uk/savings/financial-education, and hard copies of the book will be distributed to 115 primary schools across the country as part of HSBC’s School Bank Programme. A reading guide for parents and teachers is also available online, along with tips from Laverne Antrobus on how to talk to children about money.

Media enquiries to:

Rosanna Sacks
0207 067 0349

Aurora Bonin
0743 885 0833

Twitter: @HSBC_UK

For the latest updates, visit the HSBC UK newsroom:

Note to editors:

  1. Research commissioned by HSBC UK was carried out by One Poll between 16th July - 2nd August 2018. They questioned 2,000 UK parents of five to ten year olds, and 500 children (50/50 split of boys and girls) aged six to 10.
  2. Habit Formation and Learning in Young Children; University of Cambridge & Money Advice Service, 2013
  3. Fairer Tales was written and illustrated by Emma Dodd. Emma Dodd is a children’s author and illustrator. Emma studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art. She is best known for her award-winning children’s books published by Orchard Books, Templar Publishing, Penguin Books, Macmillan Publishers, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Scholastic Corporation and Nosy Crow.
  4. Laverne Antrobus consulted on the development of ‘Fairer Tales’. Laverne has been a consultant child and educational psychologist for over 20 years and specialises in working with children and families in the most need of help. She is passionate about helping children to achieve their potential and grow into confident adults. She has also contributed to the popular Channel 4 series ‘The Secret Life of 4 and 5 Year Olds’.

HSBC UK serves around 14.5 million customers in the UK supported by approximately 32,000 employees. HSBC UK offers a complete range of personal, premier and private banking services including bank accounts and mortgages. It also provides commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates. HSBC UK Bank plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc.

HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 3,800 offices in 66 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,607bn at 30 June 2018, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

Traditional fairy tales reimagined to tackle financial literacy gap between boys and girls (2-page PDF 484KB)