It's International Women's Day next Wednesday, and this year's theme is 'Embrace Equity – which is far more than a slogan: it's a call to arms to challenge gender stereotypes, pinpoint bias, tackle discrimination and take steps to achieve real inclusion.
So how can we "Embrace Equity" in our financial lives? Well, let's start by challenging the trope that men are somehow more natural investors than women. Fidelity's 2021 Women and Investing Study showed that 67% of women are now investing outside retirement (that rises to 71% for 25-40- year-olds). 9 out of 10 women surveyed planned to grow their money, including learning more about financial planning (and putting it into action) and investing more of their savings.
Women also consider ethical investment in a way that men do not. The 2021 Sustainable Investment Report prepared by Boring Money (yes, really) concluded that women were more likely to consider investing sustainably than their male counterparts. Of the women surveyed, 45% who held investment products said they wanted their investment manager to focus on sustainable funds, compared with 34% of men.
Of course, women worldwide still face more than their fair share of challenges. The perception of women as caregivers has not changed much over the decades, and it is still likely that women look after domestic spending.
Sending one child aged under two to a nursery in the UK for 25 hours a week averages £137.69 (2021 data from the Family and Childcare Trust), and many women are under huge pressure to earn and save enough for childcare, as well as maintain some kind of
If we really want to Embrace Equity, we need to start by empowering ourselves with financial knowledge. SmartPurse was created by women and aimed at helping women overcome gender-based barriers to financial success.
Have you been paying 'Pink Tax'?
Men's and women's everyday shopping lists aren't worlds apart, yet the prices we pay for similar consumer products are often massively different. Personal care items – razor blades, deodorants, moisturisers etc. – marketed towards women are often way more expensive than men's.
The World Economic Forum highlighted research by UK-based RIFT showing that deodorants for women were more than 10% more expensive, while razor blades were 6% dearer.
In a world where women still earn less than men, the 'Pink tax' prevents equal participation in the economy.
Back in 2017, the United Nations even called for its global abolition. But while gender-centric packaging and targeted advertising still exist, and in some countries there are still taxes on products that only women need to buy (for example, sanitary towels and tampons), we need to continue the fight for economic equality.
Financial literacy - a game changer for #EmbraceEquity
What does financial literacy even mean?
It's about having the knowledge and confidence to manage your money, whether paying bills, saving each month or planning for retirement. Taking time to understand and learn more about your financial development has massive long-term benefits, from spending wisely to making savvy investment decisions.
Financial literacy brings with it a degree of personal responsibility. This means having one eye on the future rather than spending your wages on something you want right here, right now – but it also involves creating a mindset that considers budgeting and saving as part of everyday activity.
This is obviously really important during the current cost of living crisis, but being mindful of expenditure also instils confidence that will empower you to make the right decisions for a secure financial future.
We all suffer from money worries, and it can be easy to let them overwhelm us. But being financially literate is not only about gaining the knowledge to understand financial issues but also means you're instantly more prepared to deal with those curveballs or know who to ask for help.
SmartPurse has a range of resources and online courses and workshops to help you boost your financial literacy.
Find out more here or via our social channels: @SmartPurse on Facebook and @smart.purse on Instagram.