Over the last 30 years, there have been significant changes in the role of women; both socially and financially. Traditionally, men tended to be the household breadwinners however, according to recent Statistics SA data, 41.3% of South African households are now headed by women. In addition, women accounted for 43.8% of total employment in the second quarter of 2018 with 32% of managers in South Africa being female.
“As women become more financially independent, their financial needs change accordingly. The financial industry still has a long way to go when it comes to catering for its female audience in a comprehensive manner though”, says Johan Nel, CEO of Iemas Financial Services.
Although some industries have caught on when it comes to tailor-made products such as insurance, a big gap still exists to address the issue of financial inclusion of women. Nel goes on to say that “The financial industry has to look at the fundamental differences between the financial needs of men versus those of women. Products and services need to be developed to address the unique needs of women and enable them to manage their finances effectively to become financially healthy and independent.”
A few realities to take into account when it comes to the development of female-specific financial products and services include:
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), women generally outlive men by 7 to 10 years. As such, they need retirement/pension products that will sustain them for longer.
- According to the WHO, women generally earn 15% to 17% less than their male counterparts for the same job. Thus women require more affordable financial products, to suit their specific financial needs.
- In terms of a divorce, women tend to be worse off financially than their male counterparts. Thus, affordable loan products and legal services will go a long way in assisting women during and after a divorce.
- Most woman experience financial strain after childbirth as there are added financial responsibilities when caring for a child as well as a loss of income during maternity leave (in many cases women are not remunerated, or only receive a portion of their income). As such, savings plans could be developed that specifically cater to this need.
Co-operatives are people-centred enterprises and Iemas, South Africa’s largest financial co-operative, is no different. The co-operative continuously strives to empower women in the communities in which it operates. Iemas’ 2017 employee complement at financial yearend was 64% female and 36% male. “In addition, we also reach out to our wider female communities by supporting programmes specifically aimed at the upliftment of girls and women. One such example is our continued support of a transitional residential facility for young girls at risk. We believe that through programmes like these we can assist in helping young girls to uplift themselves and become economically and socially independent” Nel concludes.
More blog articles on financial education:
- Iemas offers affordable financing solutions to assist matric graduates in building a bright future
- What do the current economic changes mean for South Africans?
- Iemas Financial Services looks at the impact of low or negative economic growth and how to cope financially during these trying economic times
- Iemas celebrates International Day of Co-operatives
- Iemas earned a seat in the BANKSETA programme on financial inclusion in SA>