Sara Zarriello

Money can seem like a big black abyss sometimes. This abyss can be even more daunting when there are a number of barriers to gaining financial literacy for women.

Often financial institutions spout grey walls and sterile uninviting environments. They come with jargon and measures that are steeped in patriarchal standards of wealth. This is changing. People working in finance industries are taking action to encourage women to take control of their money in ways that benefit them. 

We know that women live on average four years longer than men. This is a big incentive to promote equal pay in the workplace. Although women’s work is not valued in the same way men’s work is. The Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agenda records that women currently receive 14% less pay than men. The AMP advise that women presently earn 28% less superannuation than their male counterparts. The numbers don’t add up to the work and people are beginning to see the damaging effects this has on Australian women. 

A financial literacy resource created by WIRE, Women Talk Money, note the six common issues that hold women back from taking control in relation to the household. Feeling guilty for earning less than their partner, resentment for the majority of the household income coming from their partner, power struggles, lying about money, and unequal standings when it comes to assets. All of these issues share a common denominator – men earning more. 

The way women are brought up comparatively to men is a determining factor in understanding why the financial literacy of women is poorer.

Women Talk Money explains, “There are different expectations placed on men and women in Australian society that may shape their behaviour. This can affect all aspects of someone’s life and their finances are no exception”.

Women NSW’s has created an educational toolkit for women needing assistance learning about their money and how to use it in a sustainable way. Changing the behaviours we expect of women in the workplace is important. It all starts with education.