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Digital Béguinage - wellbeing communities for retired women

Retirement community for women focused on collective wellbeing & financial in(ter)dependence

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Women are more likely to carry out jobs that are unpaid or underpaid, follow non-linear career paths that dead-end before top management, suffer a wage gap, rely on a partner income and then outlive that partner, and therefore enter their retirement years with little or no financial security. This means that women face a relatively large risk of ending up destitute and alone later in life. The reality is that the face of poverty today is already that of an elderly woman -- a situation that only stands to worsen as the baby boomer generation ages.  In this context, how can we leverage technology, constrained resources and a sense of community to ensure wellbeing for women into their twilight years? My suggestion is to do this through a system of digital and physical (secular) "béguinage" communities where women of differing means (and their families and friends) pool their resources--including financial--and collectively support each other through their retirement years.  

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

This idea draws strongly on the notion of community and "collective" in the traditional sense, but also stands to benefit from advances in technology, like block chain, as well as growth of the sharing economy and use of complementary currencies, for example, in its execution. Ensuring wellbeing has many facets, but financial independence--or interdependence through trust--is a key consideration.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am cofounder of the Digital Leadership Institute ( whose mission is to promote inclusive digital transformation through educating and enabling female digital leaders of today and tomorrow.

Specifically, please check all that apply:

  • I'm not currently involved in a credit union, but am curious to learn more!


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Photo of André Fernandes

Really nice your idea @DeletedUser a question that came: how to approach women who don't use all the online resources? How to develop your idea without be dependend on digital platforms?

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