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© Kelley Keehn

> facts about women and money

As a market, women represent a bigger opportunity than China and India combined. So why are companies doing such a poor job of serving them?  Women now drive the world economy.

- Harvard Business Review

Did you know...

  • Globally, women control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion in the next five years. Their $13 trillion in total yearly earnings could reach $18 trillion in the same period. (1)

Source:  Harvard Business Review

  • Women feel vastly underserved. (1)
  • Six industries with the greatest potential for targeting women: Financial services, beauty, food, fitness, apparel, and health care. FINANCIAL SERVICES.  This is the industry least sympathetic to women, according to the survey, and the one in which companies have the most to gain if they can change their approach. Women feel that the industry lacks respect, and then cite other complaints that they might well share with men, such as poor advice, contradictory policies, one-size-fits-all forms, and red tape. There’s a big opportunity for companies that can provide financial education to women, financial advisers that understand and cater to female life events, and equal treatment with men. (2)
  • Women leave somewhere around $500,000 (U.S.) on the table by the time they're 60 if they don't negotiate an equitable first salary.  (3)
  • BAG LADY SYNDROME - In a recent poll, 50% of the women said they fear they will lose all their money and become destitute in old age.  (4)
  • DIVORCE - almost 40% of Canadian women will not celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary because of divorce.  (5)
  • WIDOWHOOD - Average age of widowhood is 56. (6)
  • LONGER LIFE EXPECTANCY - women on average live five years longer than men.  (5)
  • WAGE GAP - women on average earn 80% of men's income.  (5)
  • CHILD CARE, ELDER CARE - the average woman spends 15% of her career out of the paid workforce caring for children and parents.  (7)
  • LOWER PENSION BENEFITS - women retirees receive only about half the average pension benefits that men receive.  (7)

(1)  Harvard Business Review

(2) Boston Consulting Group, 2008

(3) A study by Carnegie Mellon University professor of economics Linda Babcock and writer Sara Laschever.

(4) Allianz Life Insurance survey, 2006

(5) Statistics Canada

(6) National Centre for Women and Retirement Research

(7) Women's Institute for a Secured Retirement

(8)Bureau of Census

(9) RBC Group

Did you also know...

•Women on average earn 63 cents for every dollar that a
   man earns. For that reason, women need to be extra
   careful about investing.

• On average, women spend 11.5 years of their
   working–age years outside of the workforce. This
   contributes to lower income levels and lower levels of
   retirement savings for women.

• A staggering 87% of the poverty–stricken are elderly

• There are over 9 million female-owned businesses in the
   U.S. generating more than $2.3 trillion in annual revenue.

• After earning lower salaries for fewer years, women’s
   CPP benefits are much lower, on average, than those of
   their male counterparts.

• Women start their own businesses because they want to
   do something they love, they want more time and energy
   for family and personal activities, and they wish to help
   others through their work.

• Money and finance are definitely issues that go beyond
   gender and upbringing. There are both men and women
   who manage money well, and who don’t. A person is a
   person, not a gender; we are individuals.
   But generally speaking, when it comes to
   managing money and investments, there are distinct
   differences between men and women.

• Women see themselves as less likely to be risk takers
   than men are. A study found that 31.8% of women labeled
   themselves conservative investors, compared with 21.7%
   of men. (Source: CondeNast)

• Women take more time to investigate before they invest
   than men do. One study found that women spend 40%
   more time researching a mutual fund before they invest.
   What’s more, they tend to be less impulsive and less
   inclined to act on a hot tip than men do.

  (Source: CondeNast)

• Women are less confident in their investing abilities than
   men. Only 55.7% of women feel confident about their
   investing abilities versus 64.4% of men. (Source: Long
   Island University)

• Women invest online more than men do. The rate of
   investing online is growing faster for women than for men.
   (Source: Forrester Research)

Some history on women...

•After a long struggle, Canadian women (except first nation's women) obtained the right to vote in federal elections in 1918, after some limited women's suffrage was granted the year earlier. (3)

•In 1909, the Criminal Code was amended to criminalize the abduction of women.  Before this, the abduction of any woman over 16 was legal, except if she was an heiress.  The maximum penalty for stealing a cow was much higher

than for kidnapping an heiress. (2)

•In 1925, the federal divorce law was changed to allow a woman to divorce her husband on the same grounds that a man could divorce his wife - simply adultery.  Before this, she had to prove adultery in conjunction with other acts such as sodomy or bestiality. (2)

•In 1930, another change to federal divorce laws allowed a woman deserted by her husband to sue for divorce after two years or being abandoned from the town her husband lived in before separation.  Before, a woman's legal residence was wherever her husband lived, even if she didn't know where he lived. (2)

•In 1969, the distribution of information about birth control was decriminalized. (2)

•In 1973, Pauline Jewett was the first woman President of a co-educational university - Simon Fraiser in Burnaby, BC, a hundred years after women weren't even allowed to enroll or graduate from most universities.  Jewett went on to become a Member of Parliament focusing on issues of peace, disarmament and women's equality. (3)

•In 1974, the RCMP hired its first woman member (3), one hundred years after an 1874 magazine stated, "Woman's first and only place is in her home". (1)

•In 1986, Sharon Wood from Canmore, Alberta was the first Canadian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest (2).  Only a century before, women were discouraged from any sport by doctors who claimed sports women's uteruses would shrivel and they would become mentally ill. (1)

Source:Marika Morris, CRIAW Research Coordinator Millennium of Achievements.


(1) Alsion Prentice, Paula Courne, Gail Cuthbert Brandt, Ether Light, Wendy Mitchison, Naomi Black, Canadian Women: A History (Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988)

(2) Moira Armour and Pat Stanton, Canadian Women in History; A chronology (Toronto: Green Dragon Press, 1990)

(3) Status of Women Canada, Canadian Committee on Women's History and Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, "Towards Equality for Women; A Canadian Chronology," Women's History Month, October 1992.