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How can we tackle the gender wealth gap?

03/06/2024

In April 2024, Sheree Howard of the FCA delivered a speech at the PIMFA Women’s symposium conference. The topic? “Reaping the rewards of investing in women”. 

“We all know about the gender pay gap”, she said in her speech. “But what we do not talk about often enough is the gender wealth gap.”

So why exactly is there a wealth gap, and how can we encourage more women to invest?

 

Why is there a gender wealth gap?

The gender wealth gap, says Howard, is partly down to historical gender differences in paid work. However, she believes that it is also, in part, down to under-representation across the financial services industry. 

She states that women are more likely to take part-time and lower-paid jobs than men – partly due to family commitments. As a result, women, on average, have one third of the pension wealth that men do when they reach retirement. 

Could more be done to make higher-paid jobs – with better pension prospects – more accessible to women, and more suited to their needs? 

 

How can we encourage more women to invest?

As well as making higher-paid jobs more accessible to women, work needs to be done on the language surrounding investing. Howard shared the results of a survey by Hargreaves Lansdown which revealed that 63% of women find the terminology used in investing offputting. Risk warnings, while a regulatory requirement, were also found to put women off completely. 

“If we want women’s business”, says Howard, “then we have to adjust our offer to their needs. We need to look at ourselves and be honest in the ways we are creating barriers to women being wealthier.” 

The FCA, as she explained in her speech, is working on this. Will it make a difference?

 

“Stable Rise Limited is not authorised or registered by the Financial Conduct Authority. The marketing materials are not intended to provide financial advice nor promote any individual financial products.”

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