For as far back as we can remember, women have taken care of everything related to the household. Flora Partenio, a teacher and researcher, explains how this unpaid work supports the paid work of men, and is generally done daily. She says this “should be understood as a double working day”. Economist Magalí Brosio, looks at how care provision is socially organized and builds on this narrative: “In high-income households, the solution is usually to hire someone else – another woman – to do these tasks.” This means the only way for all other households to provide care “is through some member of the family – usually a woman – who devotes her time to it, giving up work, education or leisure activities.”
When translated, this means many years will have to pass before women can rest. It will come eventually when the children have grown and gradually leave home. Only then will women breathe a sigh of relief and have the opportunity to enjoy grandchildren who make no other demand than to enjoy their company.
It’s Different Now
As more women increasingly pursue higher education, their purchasing power rises. Concomitantly taking on more senior and global executive positions, they are slowly but surely realizing greater household equality. Unfortunately, this change is not happening in many parts of the world for cultural or economic reasons. The gap is closing in developed countries but this positive shift carries a new and interesting challenge for women.
Longer life expectancy and increased wealth has created a new dynamic for women who continue to outlive men. In many markets, women are also retiring earlier than men and therefore becoming an increasingly important segment of retirement savings markets.
Comprehensive studies by EY on the relationship between women and wealth show that, despite all the above, another remarkable phenomenon is also occurring. As worldwide wealth increases, women’s wealth and incomes are also growing rapidly. In some countries, the growing number of many wealthy women is decisively influencing the financial market. Overall demographic, economic and technological shifts are thereby increasing women’s financial strength and their independence. In fact, recent research suggests that women will soon be able to control most of America’s household wealth.
Women’s Financial Lives Are More Complex
This brings new considerations, as the growth in the volume of women’s wealth and income increases their influence in wealth management markets. Women will increasingly need more financial advice because their finances are often more complex than men’s. Here are a few examples:
Divorce and paternity – Rising divorce rates are making women more responsible for their own finances. As primary childcare providers, single mothers also tend to have a greater financial dependence on caregivers.
Career patterns – As leading providers of childcare and eldercare, women are therefore more likely to pause their careers or have multi-phase careers while they try to reconcile career goals with commitments to caring for others, whether family or not.
Widowhood – Women’s longer life expectancy than men can result in sudden additional and assumed financial responsibilities relatively later in life.
There are many other life events that are unique to women and impact their finances negatively or positively. Because there is a lack of knowledge on how to deal with these situations, financial literacy for women is increasingly in demand and gaining attraction in the classroom. A few locations around the world are addressing these concerns, but many are still exploring how to implement programs. The big question becomes how to manage this necessary education with little to no knowledge.
Required Fundamental Changes
The Women’s Collection fundamentally believes that educating and empowering women is the key to economic growth, political stability, and social transformation. There is a global need for financial literacy for all demographic cohorts, and even more so for specific market segments as outlined above.
So what changes are required to making women more financially literate?
- Adjustments in upbringing, curriculae, educational environments and channels that can (and should) support financial literacy.
- The education and curriculum itself are critically important. If the curriculum is incorrect, women will find themselves implementing some parts and not another, or they may just completely end up even more confused than when they started.
- Global support from government, influential businesses and leaders, and advocacy organizations to make financial literacy mainstream and accessible.
- Changes in learning platforms to make it interactive, engaging, action-based yet comprehensive with well-defined learning objectives versus posting textbooks onto webpages.
- Build a community of support where women can help each other and not feel ashamed or alone.
There are many ways to build financial literacy and provide effective resources. Women need help implementing changes and learning how to manage this process. So how does one start?
Here in lies the issue!
If women don’t even know how to get started, then we have missed the point. Financial literacy, in general, should be a commodity. It needs to be accessible by all women across all demographic segments, supported by the groups and associations mentioned earlier. Once this fundamental foundation is in place, then we systematically address both their overall understanding and the targeted needs of each segment.
Please visit https://www.thewomenscollection.ca and our social channels for more information.