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A costly gender gap

Everyone needs to be sufficiently financially literate to take informed decisions for themselves and their families as to their savings, investments, pensions and more. But in many countries, women have lower financial knowledge than men, and are less confident in their financial knowledge and skills.

This holds true for both developed and developing countries, in all regions of the world, and using different survey instruments. While women sometimes appear to be better than men in some types of short-term money management, they are more likely to have trouble making ends meet, building solid savings or choosing financial products appropriately.

Yet women make important and daily decisions about the allocation of household resources, and to have a major role in the transmission of financial habits and skills to their children. And because women live longer than men, but have shorter working lives and lower average incomes from which to save for old age, they need to be sufficiently financially literate to manage the risks they face.

Gender differences in financial knowledge may be smaller among younger generations that have been exposed to a more egalitarian environment than their elders. The 2012 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) will measure the financial literacy of 15-year-olds in 18 countries for the first time. 

See Closing the Gender Gap

Also see www.oecd.org/els/soc/oecdgenderinitiative.htm

© OECD Observer No 296 Q3 2013