Both women and men need to be sufficiently financially literate to effectively participate in economic activities and to take appropriate financial decisions for themselves and their families, but women often have less financial knowledge and lower access to formal financial products than men. Women therefore have specific and additional financial literacy needs.
Women are likely to take primary responsibility for childrearing, to make important and daily decisions about the allocation of household resources, and to have a major role in the transmission of financial habits and skills to their children. Hence, they need to have adequate financial skills not only for themselves but also for future generations. In addition, women have a weaker labour market position with respect to men. In 2011, on average across OECD countries, 60% of women were in the labour force compared to 72% of men. Around 25% of women in employment worked part-time, compared to only 9% of employed men. Among full-time employees, women earned on average 15% less than men. As women also live longer than men, and yet have shorter working lives and lower average incomes from which to save for old-age, they need to be sufficiently financially literate to manage the greater financial risks that they face.
All this is made more difficult by the fact that in many countries public policies – especially concerning pensions and health care – have shifted the burden of long-term financial decision-making onto the individual. At the same time, the complexity of financial markets is increasing, and women need to acquire the financial knowledge, confidence, and skills to effectively participate in economic activities and financial decision-making, both within and outside their households. Financial literacy is needed not only to improve women’s management of their personal and household finances, but also to empower them to choose and access appropriate financial services and products, as well as to develop and manage entrepreneurial activities. Read more…