The Australian Shareholders Association (ASA) has launched a new educational program for women called wInvest – aligned with the #ChooseToChallenge theme for International Women’s Day today.
The new program comes at a time when reports are showing women’s financial progress has not improved greatly and was hindered last year by COVID. A current report from the Financy Women’s Index – which measures the progress of women towards financial equality with men in Australia – states from the last quarter’s figures, it will be 101 years before financial equality between the sexes is reached.
The Financy Index is produced quarterly with the aim of raising awareness of financial inequality by applying a gendered lens to data insights in the workplace, wages, unpaid work, leadership, superannuation and education.
One of the ASA directors, Leide Smits, says the ASA’s job is to educate and empower female investors: “The ASA has created wInvest as a dedicated resource to help women of all ages start their investment journey to build confidence and participate in financial decision-making,” she says.
Smits has a great deal of personal experience in this area as a finance journalist, entrepreneur, business owner, board director and advocate for women’s financial empowerment. She adds the ASA chose International Women’s Day (IWD) to launch wInvest as the day marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
wInvest is an ASA group for women that includes webinars, meetings and online courses. It aims to enable women to become inspired, empowered and improve their financial literacy through investing in themselves,” she adds.
wInvest to provide national education solution for women
It’s obvious there is financial inequality between men and women and wInvest has been created to contribute to the solution. As Smits says: “Women typically earn less than their male counterparts. Their economic progress is hindered by factors such as playing a larger role in unpaid domestic labour, divorce rates and facing larger child-minding responsibilities than fathers.
“Tragically, women over the age of 55 are the group most at risk of homelessness in Australia, largely due to poor financial literacy and minimal financial empowerment,” she adds.
“While the ASA believes women of all ages need to be financially empowered, it sees a growing need to reverse the statistics for two main groups. Firstly, as women tend to outlive men, widows are a silent group that face problems when inheriting wealth from their late partner.
“With minimal financial knowledge they face struggles with how to manage their new wealth effectively, for both them and their family. Secondly, women who have retired and didn’t prioritise investing and financial education in their youth need to establish financial stability,” says Smits.
IWD launch highlights how ASA #ChooseToChallenge
The ASA has chosen International Women’s Day (IWD) to launch wInvest as the day marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. This year, IWD highlights how we as a society #ChooseToChallenge and says, “From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge”.
In turn, wInvest is challenging the inequality which exists between male and female literacy and choosing to empower women through independent education.
New report from Financy shows Aussie women’s financial progress is going backwards
Today’s launch of wInvest comes on the same day as the Financy Women’s Index has reported women’s financial progress was hindered in the December quarter (Q4 2020). The Financy report has shown women face a more challenging task of achieving financial equality with men as COVID distorts trends in employment and wages, while also exposing underlying structural problems holding back progress.
Financy’s latest report showed:
- The timeframe to gender financial equality increased to a revised 101 years, due to a widening in the gender gap in unpaid work. While year-on-year the Index shows women did make financial progress in 2020, momentum collapsed in the December quarter (-3%) due to a combined widening of the gender gaps in the underemployment rate, employment, unpaid work and education.
- In better news, the gender gap on ASX 200 company boards improved as the number of female directors rose to a fresh high.
· The gender pay gap also improved to 13.4% in November, down from 14% in May, although caution must be exercised as this could unwind because of COVID-19 related distortions.
- The gender gap in average superannuation savings stands at 29.1% with men holding higher average balances.
- The Financy Women’s Index measures the progress of women towards financial equality with men in Australia. The Index is produced quarterly with the aim of raising awareness of financial inequality by applying a gendered lens to data insights in the workplace, wages, unpaid work, leadership, superannuation and education. The Financy Women’s Index is reviewed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and an Advisory Board. For more information visit here.
The Financy Women’s Index measures the progress of women towards financial equality with men in Australia. The Index is produced quarterly with the aim of raising awareness of financial inequality by applying a gendered lens to data insights in the workplace, wages, unpaid work, leadership, superannuation and education. The Financy Women’s Index is reviewed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and an Advisory Board.
Australian Shareholders’ Association, Chief Executive Officer John Cowling adds: “ASA’s core mission is helping individual investors on their investment journey through education and wInvest is a natural extension of this mission. The foundations of wInvest came through a Financial Literacy grant from the Ecstra Foundation who recognise the importance of empowering women through education.
ASA is proud to have deployed these funds to a comprehensive educational program, Own Your Financial Future, aimed at women over 55 and encompassing workshops, videos, webinars, and online groups. We hope the assets will continue to increase financial literacy for all women around Australia of whatever age.”
Australian Shareholders’ Association, Director Leide Smits said: “As a woman working in the Australian finance industry I come across gender and financial inequality daily. Educating women enables women to become empowered and tackle this inequality head-on.
“As a newly appointed female Director to ASA, I am inspired by the board’s commitment to empowering women and the launch of Winvest. I’m excited about the independent education wInvest will offer women around Australia and hope more women are inspired to invest in themselves and their future,” Smits adds.
The Australian Shareholders’ Association (ASA) educates investors and gives retail shareholders a voice. It is Australia’s largest, independent, not-for-profit individual investor association. The ASA is passionate about keeping the market fair for the everyday, independent investor, and has been doing just that since 1960. Members can further their investment knowledge through the annual conference, webinars, podcasts, magazines, monthly meetings and discussion groups (including in regional areas), seminars, workshops and more. For more information visit here.