Today is International Women’s Day and all around the world women and men are celebrating the steps, strides and leaps we have made to achieve equality.
The fight is still very much on but we are moving forward. In 2018, the gender pay gap in the UK fell to its lowest level on record and was almost wiped out for full time workers under 40.
The government’s new legislation requiring companies to report on their gender pay gap has put a fire under employers to change their ways.
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, which pushes for gender balance in the workplace, politics, sport, media and most importantly, wealth.
The Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report found that women are catching up with men – women now own almost 40% of global wealth. However, female billionaires have tipped this scale (Kylie Jenner become the world’s youngest billionaire just this week).
But what about the rest of us non-billionaire women? Globally, there are still yawning gaps in the way women are at a financial disadvantage.
How do we balance the books in our favour? You might think you’re a drop in the ocean but if we all make small changes we will chip away at financial inequality together.
How to Close the Financial Gender Gap Together
Here we look at some of the areas where women are still losing out financially and what steps we can all take to close the gender gaps for good.
1. The Investing Gender Gap
We are earning more but the investing gap between women and men widens year on year. According to HM Revenue & Customs, women invest less than their male peers.
What’s putting women off investing? Investment products and advice are tailored towards men. Outdated gender ideas about investing means that women lack confidence about what products are out there.
It’s not all bad: as more women bag higher salaries, they are becoming actively engaged in making more from their money.
What can we do?
We need to take the bull by the horns with fantastic female-centred financial education and advice, a sector which is growing fast. It’s also the whole reason Money Nuggets exists!
If you’ve never invested before and are wondering how to start investing, the simplest route to start investing is through stocks and shares ISAs and learn along the way. You can start a regular savings plan from as little as £50, or with a £1,000 lump sum with Fidelity. Click here to find out more.
Check out our Savings and Investing series to help get you started. And getting started is the best advice we can give – even if you only invest £1, you are building wealth.
2. The Pension Gender Gap
Women who retire today receive 40% less pension income than men. This is down to lower earnings, motherhood and the gender pay gap, which drives a pension pay gap.
Things are changing though, with women’s pension age being brought in line with men’s (65) last November. But many women will still lose out – particularly those who work part-time.
What can we do?
The good news is that since October 2018, every employer in the UK must legally provide an employee pension scheme. If you are over 22, working in the UK, and earn more than £10,000, you will be enrolled in the scheme automatically.
The scheme is designed to be in addition to your state pension. If you earn less than £10,000 per year you can ask your employer to enrol you and agree your own monthly contributions. Find out more about how to build your pension at the Pensions Advisory Service.
We’re all busy working, many of us juggling children and mortgages as well. But don’t put off thinking about the future – find out about your pension rights today.
3. The Debt Gender Gap
Women fare worse than men when it comes to debt. Of the 8.8 million people struggling with debt in the UK, 64% are women.
What causes the debt gap? The list is long. Women earn less and use debt to cover living expenses, mothers rack up debt to cover lost income, women are more likely to work part-time and in the public sector, so are more likely to feel the pinch of austerity cuts.
Also taking time out to have kids means that women take longer to pay off debt, accruing more interest.
What can we do?
If you are struggling with debt, get help. Debt problems can seriously affect mental health, making it harder to break free and earn more. There are some fantastic organisations out there to help you tackle debt. Reach out to a charity such as StepChange.org who will help you manage your debt and support you as you fight your way to freedom.
There’s also a wealth of debt information in our Credit and Debt section. Remember, debt is nothing to be ashamed of, so don’t bury your head in the sand: fighting debt will help us close this gap and live better.
Have you tried to get out of debt, but didn’t succeed? Join our 7-Day Free Get Out of Debt Callenge for a simple step-by-step guide to getting out of debt fast.
4. The Wage Gender Gap
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently reported that the gender pay gap has fallen to its lowest level yet in the UK (to 8.6% in April 2018 for full time workers, down from 9.1% in the previous year).
However, the new gender gap reporting legislation also revealed that men are paid more than women in 7,795 out of 10,016 companies and public sector organisations in Britain.
The World Bank also reported that only SIX countries in the world give women and men equal legal work rights.
The tide is turning – gender equality in the workplace continues to dominate the headlines like never before and laws are being changed accordingly. Every time a woman stands up and demands equality, even in a small way, things get slowly better.
What can we do?
Know your rights. The Equality Act 2010 states that women are entitled to claim the same terms as a man who is doing equal work. Do you know what your colleagues in the same job earn compared with you?
Demand transparency from your employer by submitting a list of questions about what you are entitled to. If you work for a company with more than 250 employees, they have to report their gender pay gap figures. Find more information on your employer at GOV.UK.
Also, research shows that women are less likely to negotiate their pay, especially if they are not sure what a reasonable offer is. Your employer should be communicating the salary range on offer for a role to encourage negotiation and you can demand to know this information.
Let’s stand up and raise our voices to achieve gender balance in every aspect of our lives. Celebrate International Women’s Day here with us by sharing your stories. We’d love to hear from you.
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