Are Personal Finances The Final Obstacle To Gender Equality?
Life + Culture
7 min read
The UK has made significant strides in advancing female empowerment when it comes to social, economic and political progress. However, according to new research from UBS Global Wealth Management, the vast majority of couples are still falling into antiquated marriage stereotypes in terms of their financial decisions.
The new global study found that only 15% of UK women have financial equality over long-term domestic decisions such as savings, investments and retirement planning. While over 80% of women are active participants in their short-term finances such as paying bills and managing daily expenses, less than 25% are heavily involved in any long-term decisions.
Despite many young women feeling inspired to continue pushing boundaries and making progress towards gender equality, it is evident that equal involvement in financial decisions is not a top concern. The UBS study reveals that 69% of millennial women in the UK say they pass the financial responsibility over to their partner – well above the global average of 59%. The two primary reasons for doing so are cited as a belief that their spouses are more knowledgeable about long-term finances and a lack of financial confidence. The study identifies five factors which contribute to a significantly reduced lifetimes wealth for women compared to their male counterparts. The gender pay gap, along with the investment gap, are both intrinsic to the disparity but the study also shows the other influential elements to be that women are more likely to work flexibly, take time off to care for elderly and tend to live longer.
How can we stop falling into this outdated tradition trap and encourage women to embrace long-term financial responsibility? UBS recommends you begin by making a money date with your spouse. By setting up a time specifically to discuss your finances, you can ensure both of you are committed to your goals and responsibilities. Aside from your own goals and aspirations, you should also set and keep track of common goals with your partner as well. Agreeing on these goals together will be key in planning and achieving them together. Lastly, think “we” not “I.” The study makes it clear that shared decision making leads to women feeling more confident about their financial security.
As Managing Director of UBS, Shona Baijal, comments, “We want to put finances on the agenda; encouraging couples to openly discuss their money, to break this taboo and to instil a sense of confidence about their financial future. Equally, we want to ensure that the finance industry continues to address this underserved community. We have done so much to smash glass ceilings lets not end up hitting a financial wall and jeopardising our financial wellbeing and future security.”
Image credits: Unsplash
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