50 Telling Stats on the State of Women and Money in 2022Jan 11, 2022
Gone are the days when a husband got to control a wife’s finances without her consent. And gone are the days when women had to accept lower salaries and stay silent in the face of inequality.
Due to the passing of discrimination protection laws like the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a woman in the United States can be in charge of her financial destiny.
But there’s still a long way to go in narrowing the gender gap in finances and alleviating systemic hurdles women face. Here are 50 stats about women and money you need to know.
Editor’s note: Stats that compare genders include data for “women” and “men,” because those are the categories for which data is most often presented. We’ve included these comparisons because they illustrate important disparities, but we acknowledge how comparisons like this leave many folks out of the conversation. Browse our blog for more content that speaks to our LGBTQ community!
Lack of financial confidence
Financial literacy is key to building and maintaining wealth. Lack of financial confidence keeps many women from pursuing education in personal finance. Women are less likely than their male counterparts to view themselves as financially savvy. As a result, women are less likely to make investments that grow wealth, negotiate salaries and attain financial independence.
- One-third of the gender gap in financial literacy is due to lack of financial confidence, especially among women of color.
- 56% of women married to men leave financial planning and investment decisions to their husbands.
- Only 9% of women think they’re better investors than men are. However, women are less risk-averse and tend to seek financial advice, so their investments often perform better.
- 23.3% of all Certified Financial Planners are women.
- Only 18% of women between ages 60 and 75 passed a financial literacy quiz on retirement. 35% of men passed the same quiz.
- 75% of women are concerned about their ability to save for retirement. Meanwhile, 68% of men feel the same about their ability to save for retirement.
- 35% of men prioritize growing their wealth, especially through investing. Only 28% of women share the same priority.
- Women are nearly twice as likely to have negative feelings about finances as men.
Persisting income disparity
Fortunately, the pay gap between men and women is narrowing. However, this development is progressing slowly. And with the pandemic, income disparity poses greater challenges to women's financial well-being and threatens their ability to gain financial independence.
- In 1979, a woman only made 62 cents for every dollar a man earned. In 2020, women overall earned 82 cents per dollar men earn.
- As of 2019, Asian women earned 87 cents for every dollar earned by white men. White women earned 79 cents, Black women earned 63 cents, and Hispanic and Latina women earned 55 cents for every dollar white men earned.
- Women would need an additional 42 days a year to earn as much as men earn in one year.
- The gender pay gap is higher among educated men and women. Women with a bachelor’s degree earn 74% of what men with a bachelor’s degree make.
- On average, the lifetime earnings of a woman with a bachelor’s degree is $1.32 million. The average lifetime earnings of a man with a high school diploma is $1.53 million.
- Women ask for raises just as often as men do, but are only likely to get the raise 15% of the time, while men who ask get the raise 20% of the time.
- On average, women will reach their peak earnings at age 44 with a salary of $66,700. Meanwhile, men reach their peak earnings at age 55 with an average of $101,200.
Discrimination in the workforce
Trends illustrate that women are sorely underrepresented in leadership. As a result, women are more susceptible to exploitation among male coworkers and superiors, and less likely to voice their concerns about company culture and unequal pay.
- Women make up 47% of support staff and 29% of senior management. Only 2.6% of Fortune Global 500 companies have women as CEOs.
- 1 in 5 women say they’re often the only woman in a room at work. This is twice as common for women in senior management positions.
- Women are four times as likely to feel like their competency at work is questioned because of their gender.
- 38% of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Women make up 25% of workers in high-paying computer and engineering professions and 74% of health care practitioners and technicians.
Inequality in education
Women face financial and social challenges related to education and educational institutions. These challenges prevent women from attaining higher education and pursuing high-paying careers.
- Due to poverty, child marriage and domestic violence, 129 million girls worldwide don’t attend school.
- One in four female undergraduate students at a major U.S. university experience sexual assault or misconduct while at school.
- Women represent 43% of the teachers in post-secondary education and are underrepresented in senior faculty and education’s decision-making bodies.
- 44% of women say the primary reason they don’t have a bachelor’s degree is that they can’t afford college. 39% of men say the same.
- 39% of white men who didn’t complete college say it was because they didn’t want to. Only 27% of white women say not completing college was a personal choice.
- Women hold more than two-thirds of the student loan debt in the U.S. but comprise around 56% of enrolled students in college.
Insufficient retirement savings
Women tend to live longer than men. As a result, they must draw out their retirement savings for a longer period of time. Trends show women risk falling into poverty if they don’t have sufficient funds for retirement.
- The average life expectancy for a woman born in the U.S. in 2020 is 81 years, while the average life expectancy for a man is 76 years.
- 55% of women are likely to be saving for retirement compared to 65% of men.
- 39% of women are confident they’ll have sufficient funds to last 25 years of retirement, compared with 54% of men.
- 84% of women who will retire after 65 plan to do so for financial reasons.
- Nearly 50% of women have less than $25,000 in savings, compared to 36% of men.
Discrimination in homeownership
The road to homeownership is often a long and difficult journey. It’s even more challenging for women, especially women of color, who face discrimination from lenders, harassment from landlords and lower returns on housing investment along the way.
- Single women pay 2% more than single men when purchasing a home and sell it for 2% less.
- Female-headed households make up 83% of all housing voucher participants. Many landlords refuse to accept housing vouchers.
- In 2020, HUD proposed a rule that would force immigrant families to separate or lose housing security. This new rule placed 9.5 million people receiving HUD assistance at risk of losing their homes, disproportionately affecting women and girls, who make up 63% of those receiving assistance.
Challenges for working mothers
Women and money statistics also shed light on the unique financial difficulties of mothers in the workforce. Barriers and discrimination often limit their earning capacities and ability to attain financial independence and even support their families.
- 25% of women say taking parental leave had a negative effect on their work versus 13% of men.
- 54% of mothers have needed to reduce their hours at work due to family responsibilities, compared with 44% of fathers.
- 51% of mothers say they couldn’t give 100% at work due to family responsibilities, compared with 43% of fathers.
- One in five mothers have been passed over for a promotion or big assignment at work.
- Approximately 3.5 million mothers left the workforce or lost their jobs during the early days of the pandemic to care for their school-aged children.
Divorce inequality and financial abuse
Divorce can often have a larger impact on a woman’s finances than a man’s. This is because men earn more than women on average, making them the breadwinners of their households. Women in relationships with men tend to rely on their partner’s income more than the other way around.
- 69% of women married to or cohabitating with men earn less than their partners.
- A woman’s household income falls by 41% after a divorce, nearly twice the drop men experience.
- More than one in three families headed by unmarried mothers live under the poverty line.
- Financial abuse is present in 99% of domestic violence cases, in which women are disproportionately victims.
Impacts of money and women’s health
Women disproportionately experience stress due to finances. And women spend an additional amount of money on personal care products which also weighs on their savings.
- 46% of women say money is an obstacle to living a healthy lifestyle, while 37% of men said the same.
- The “pink tax,” a price gap between identical personal care items based on the gender they’re marketed to, can amount to $82,000 over a woman’s lifetime.
Women and Money: Some promising outlooks
With discouraging statistics about women and money, it’s easy to feel as though the odds are against you. But some positive trends about the relationship of women and money are emerging, too!
- Women currently control 40% of global wealth due to more education, career advancements and financial independence. This percentage is expected to increase in the next decade.
- Women carry 22% less overall debt than men do.
- Female investors outperform male investors by 0.4% or 40 basis points.
- Companies led by female executives are more likely to be profitable than their male counterparts.
- In 2021, 18% of home purchases were made by single women (largely between age 66 and 74) while 9% were made by single men.
About the author
Alani Asis is a personal finance writer who is on a mission to help young audiences become financially literate and find financial freedom. You can find Alani on her site “Intuition by Alani,” where she talks about saving, earning, side-hustling and living your best life.
Image by cottonbro via Pexels.
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