Women are suffering a decline in financial confidence at more than double the rate of men, according to Fidelity International.
Findings published ahead of Wednesday’s International Women’s Day showed that 34 per cent of UK women felt confident about their current financial situation, down by 15 per cent in the past year. This compared with a 6 per cent decline among men in the same period.
Despite 45 per cent of men and women feeling financially independent in 2022, the rate of improvement among the latter was lower in 2023 than among their male counterparts. Around 51 per cent of women felt financially independent compared with 58 per cent of men, according to the survey of 2,000 adults by Opinium for Fidelity.
“The economic instability many have experienced in recent years continues to weigh heavily on household finances and is hampering women’s financial confidence,” said Emma-Lou Montgomery, associate director at Fidelity International.
Polling painted a mixed picture of progress on narrowing the gender gap surrounding personal finance, as rising levels of independence were hampered by economic uncertainty denting confidence.
One-fifth fewer women responded that they were confident in their “financial situation compared with a year ago” between 2022 and 2023, though men expressed a slight increase in confidence in the same period.
The rising cost of living, unforeseen costs and drops in income have all fed in to falling confidence. Studies have previously identified that women are more likely to express nervousness rather than a lack of knowledge around financial issues.
“We know women crave financial confidence and independence but the narrative around women and money has traditionally been to ‘think small’,” said Laura Pomfret, co-founder of financial wellness app Financielle.
Pomfret added: “Women are already behind in every area of personal finance. Combine this with the cost of living crisis and . . . it’s hard to be positive about the state of women’s finances.”
However, positive signs have emerged, with polling showing that a growing number of women thought that they had a savings pot which allowed them to make key life decisions and a plan in place for retirement.
Montgomery said: “It’s vital that women are provided with the means to achieve their financial goals and while the financial outlook remains uncertain it’s more important than ever that women feel in control of their finances.”