The Gender Gap No One Is Talking About

The Gender Gap No One Is Talking About

Most people are highly aware of the disparity between men and women when it comes to things like leadership positions, wages, and visibility in the media.

It’s not uncommon to see social media campaigns addressing these issues and advocating for people to help change the culture. But there’s one gender gap in particular that we as a society neglect to talk about openly and that is the financial literacy gap.

To be financially literate means that a person is able to understand how money works in the world, how to effectively make and manage money and how to invest or donate money into stocks, organizations or charities. When surveyed, women across the board tend to be much less knowledgeable about personal finance than men, no matter their age, level of education, socioeconomic status or country of origin. In a study conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the financial literacy gap was apparent among economically stable and economically disadvantaged women, among young, educated and employed women as well as lesser educated women. Even when women identified as the chief decision maker in the household, they were still less financially knowledgeable than male household decision makers.

This gender gap in financial literacy has already proven to be detrimental for women’s economic security. According to studies from the National Bureau of Economic Research, having less financial literacy correlates with less engagement in behaviors that are crucial to achieving long-term financial well-being. Long-term financial wellbeing can include everything from investing in stocks and planning for retirement to paying attention to general fees and charges. Whether a woman is widowed, divorced or simply single, it is crucial that she can make informed and independent decisions for herself and for anyone who depends on her.

Experts at the Wall Street Journal have concluded that a huge contributing factor to the financial literacy gap could be that women simply have less opportunity to attain financial knowledge. The easiest way to alleviate this issue would be to make sure that everyone is better equipped with basic financial skills, by adding more financial literacy classes to schools. Considering that women are statistically less likely to seek out financial advice than men, teaching young girls to be financially literate would help young women to feel strong and confident in their own financial health and future.

The financial literacy gender gap is not a new problem, but evidence stills indicates that financial instability amongst women is on the rise. With a little luck, researchers and economists will be able to better identify the roots of financial illiteracy amongst women and our society will begin to find innovative solutions to close this troubling gender gap.

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