Penny pinch | How we think about women and money must change

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How we think about women and money must change

Women get paid less, live longer, have more debt, do more unpaid labour and retire with pensions 1/3 the size of men. Yet just 16% of financial advisors are women, according to the FCA. Why are we letting women down when it comes to money?

According to Goldman Sachs, “Women make up 50% of the world’s population, earn more than $20 trillion every year globally, and control slightly more than one-third of total household wealth. Yet a gender gap continues to exist, especially with respect to finances.”

But this gender gap isn’t one of simply opportunity or equal pay – it’s about how, why and how often we speak to and educate women about money. And the findings are, disappointingly but unsurprisingly, that we speak to men far more often than to women about investment.

Data from the Bank of New York Mellon Investment Management’s Pathway to Inclusive Investment report found that 86% of investment managers shared that the ‘default customer’ in their mind when pursuing new clients is male. Furthermore, reports fund management magazine CityWire, 73% said their organisation’s investment products are primarily aimed at men – with language, imagery and messaging adjusted accordingly to a male-only audience.

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Margot de Broglie, founder of Your Yuno, which aims to educate women and non-binary AFAB people on financial mattes, said that in her experience (both studying economics at London School of Economics) and working in the financial services sector, that “when we talk to women about money, we talk about saving, shopping or penny-pinching. Yet when we talk to men, it’s about investing, investing, investing.”

Why we need to change how we talk to women about money

Perhaps the reason for that is that just 16% of financial advisors are women, according to FCA data (lowering to about 12% in the US, according to CityWire’s 2021 Alpha Female report). Perhaps it’s that women only experienced full emancipation in the 1950s in some countries, and much, much later in most countries.

Perhaps it stems from the old-fashioned (and documentedly false) conception that women are bad at maths in general, and even worse with money – and the further idea that the male brain is logical and the female one scatty.

Female employees are '33% more likely to experience financial stress than their male colleagues

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