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Are Personal Finances The Final Obstacle To Gender Equality?

  • Life + Culture
  • 3 min read
Are Personal Finances The Final Obstacle To Gender Equality?

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 and there’s a need to improve financial gender equality.

The new global study found that only 15 percent of UK women have financial equality when it comes to long-term domestic decisions, like savings, investments and retirement planning. In contrast, more than 80 percent of women are active participants in their short-term finances, like paying bills and managing daily expenses, while less than 25 percent 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 percent of millennial women in the UK say they pass the financial responsibility over to their partner. That’s well above the global average of 59 percent. The two primary reasons are cited as a belief that their spouses are more knowledgeable about long-term finances, and a lack of financial confidence. The gender pay gap, along with the investment gap, are both a part of the disparity, but the study also shows that women are more likely to work flexibly, take time off to care for family, and live longer.

How can we stop falling into this outdated trap and encourage women to embrace long-term financial responsibility?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 designated time 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. 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. Let’s not end up hitting a financial wall and jeopardising our financial wellbeing and future security.”

Image credit: Unsplash

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Written by - Alex Lilienfeld

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