“Money talks,” or so goes the saying.
But for large numbers of women, money talks a language they can’t understand. Women in general face financial vulnerability arising from their role in the family, the labour market and the economy. Due to the gender pay gap (currently around 15% according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency) and the role of women in the workplace and family a female will retire with about half the superannuation balance of a male. That’s around $85,000 less money.
Australian women in general are fearful of money and their find their lack of financial literacy frightening. They are alienated by the language of money, which is male-orientated and unsympathetic to the goals of women, especially those from culturally-diverse backgrounds.
The industry should understand that women’s approach to financial products and their future financial security is inherently different to men’s. Women need information that is in synch with their life circumstances. Other research from 2007 found that women were distrustful and reluctant to engage with financial professionals such as bankers and advisers. Literature is not presented to them in an interesting and easily-understood manner. In ten years nothing much has changed.
There remains great scope for the superannuation industry — from fund managers and advisers to super funds — to address the alienation felt by women when it comes to money. A simple understanding of their needs and wants, and their preferred method of receiving information could easily address this problem and cater for a cohort which makes up over 50% of the population.