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“It starts when they’re young”: Shining a light on the finance gender gap

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Finder's new report shows the disparity between men and women when it comes to their finances

Women earn less money than men, women have fewer savings than men and women are more negative about owning a house than men.

These are just some of the findings from Finder's International Women's Day Report 2024.

And it's nothing new. This is a battle that's been fought for many years. And while the gender pay gap seems to be improving nationally, the gaps in other areas of financial literacy and engagement are not showing such improvements.

Gender gaps start young

The finance gap between men and women starts young. In fact, the way parents give pocket money can begin that journey.

Financial education manager at Ecstra Foundation, Tracey West, says pocket money can sometimes reinforce gender stereotypes, like who gets paid for what role in the household.

Even in schools, there are stereotypes around boys being better at maths and science, and girls better at the arts or languages.

"That's changing. We know from stats that boys do as good or as badly in these topics," West says.

"But there are still some stereotypes and all that leads to career choices and caring roles."

Pay gap bleeds into other areas

The latest Finder data shows that men are able to save 51% more each month than women. In 2021, that gap blew out and men were saving on average 101% more than women.

While this can come down to financial literacy, it's also about income. The gender pay gap is improving, but it still exists. The latest figures show the pay gap at 12%.

"If you get paid more you get more opportunities to experience saving and you get the opportunity to make mistakes, but if you get paid less you get less opportunities to do this," West says.

"Your daughters pick that up"

As part of West's work with financial literacy, she's working towards improving the gap between men and women.

She suggests a fairly easy place to start: "I tell women not to say they 'don't know maths' or not to say 'they don't make money decisions'.

"Your daughters pick that up. You're good at lots of things to do with budgets and making decisions, so acknowledge the good things you can do," she says, pointing out that women have a track record of being the ones feeding the family on a tight budget.

She also says to "never dismiss anything". For example, the recent 'girl math' trend on social media. While many treated it as an online joke or were offended by the premise, West says having anything that makes women relate to their finances is a good thing.

"It's a good segway into these conversations and tossing ideas around. Does it really cost nothing if you wear it 5 times? Looking at the number of wears of a piece of clothing is a good strategy, but are you justifying that for the real reason or cost reasons?"

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