It's International Women's Day And Women Are Counting Pennies And Skipping Joy
Young African woman looking sad while sitting with her eyes closed and head in her hand on a sofa at home
Today is International Woman’s Day, a day used to celebrate the triumphs and achievements from women around the globe. Whilst some women are spending celebrating, others have completely forgot that today should be a joyful day, recognising the hurdles we’ve overcome.
But how can we champion how far we’ve come when women are feeling the burden of managing household costs such as food and childcare, and are also more likely to be low-paid, and in part-time or insecure employment?
The cost of living crisis isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and many women are feeling the brunt of the cost of living crisis and its damaging impact on anxiety and mental health, the British Psychological Society has warned.
New figures reveal that 61% of women say they are more anxious about being able to pay their bills than this time last year, compared to 47% of men.
Sadly, more women will spend time being anxious about money today than feeling empowered. Instead of feeling hopeful, 30% of women said worrying about money was making them feel depressed.
Happy Womens day to all the women who are struggling with the cost of living. Who are raising families and working and meeting the daily struggle with strength and forbearance. Who march on even when there is no help, or safety or security or gratitude, recognition or protection.
— Marcella Brassett (@MarcellaBrasset) March 7, 2023
International Women’s Day is a time to amplify female voices and empower women and girls to live up to their full potential. It’s also an opportunity to redouble our efforts to achieve gender equality. The cost-of-living crisis is disproportionately impacting women.
— Georgie Harman (@georgie_harman) March 8, 2023
Additionally, 77% of women also felt more concerned about being able to afford various household costs over the coming year, including energy bills.
Unfortunately, this means that women are more likely to rely on the benefit system, making them more vulnerable to rises in the cost of living and any failure to uprate benefits in line with inflation. Single parents, the majority of whom are women, are even more likely to be living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet.
According to the Living Wage Foundation, over 2 million women in work are paid below the real Living Wage, compared to 1.4 million (9%) of men. That’s over half a million more women workers earning below the real Living Wage compared to men.
As a result, jobs held by women account for almost 60% of all jobs paid below the real Living Wage. “This year’s International Women’s Day 2023 is focused on equity - the sticky floor of low pay and precarious work is holding women back, true equity needs to start with a real Living Wage,” Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said.
And the future for women isn’t looking too promising either. The cost-of-living crisis is having a far greater impact on women’s finances and retirement plans than men’s, according to new research by My Pension Expert. 61% of women say the cost-of-living crisis has made retirement seem impossible.
“The gender gap has loomed over the pension sector for decades. And as the cost-of-living crisis bites, this deeply embedded systemic issue is becoming more acute. Indeed, our research indicates that women are feeling as though their future finances are spiralling out of control,” Lily Megson, Policy Director at My Pension Expert, shares.
Megson explains that pension gender inequality is a very complex issue – there is no ‘quick fix’ solution. “Action is needed to eradicate gender bias across the board, such as ensuring the affordability of childcare and reducing the earnings requirement for auto-enrolment into workplace pensions.”
“And the government, as well as businesses themselves, must commit to addressing these problems if we are to make any headway,” she adds.
There’s joy in being a woman, we are an incredible community and it’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come but there’s still so much work to do. It’s not surprising that there will be several women who won’t remember what day it is because they are too busy dealing with finances. The cost of living crisis is severely affecting a number of women so it’s hard to champion our efforts when so many women are struggling to make ends meet.