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Empowering Women Through Financial Awareness and Education

  • Angela Hung
  • Joanne Yoong
  • Elizabeth Brown

The potential implications of gender differences in financial literacy are far-reaching. This paper describes the findings of a review of the literature on gender differences in financial literacy with the aim to better understand their causes and consequences, as well as possible policy responses. It provides a starting point to collect further evidence, develop analytical work and case studies, and to identify areas that deserve further research, thus paving the way for future work to be developed by the OECD and the INFE. A relatively broad range of empirical literature documents the existence of gender differences in financial literacy in various countries and along several dimensions. On average, women perform worse than men on tests of financial knowledge and have less confidence in their financial skills. However, so far policy awareness of the existence and relevance of these differences is quite low. The literature (albeit so far limited) on what drives such gender differences points to several potentially complementary explanations including differences in skills, attitudes, and opportunities. In this context, the contribution of improved and targeted financial education programmes aimed at better addressing women’s needs is promising and worth exploring further. Le rôle de la sensibilisation et l'éducation financière dans l'autonomisation des femmes Les implications des différences entre hommes et femmes en matière de culture financière sont potentiellement significatives. Cet article décrit les résultats de l’examen de la recherche existant sur le sujet afin de mieux en appréhender les causes et conséquences, et d’identifier de possibles réponses en matière de politiques publiques. Cet article fournit une base solide pour collecter de nouvelles données, développer l’analyse et des études de cas et d'identifier les zones qui méritent d’être approfondies, ouvrant ainsi la voie aux prochains travaux de l'OCDE et l'INFE en la matière. Un éventail relativement large de recherches empiriques montre l’existence de différences entre hommes et femmes en matière de culture financière dans divers pays et sur plusieurs déterminants de cette culture. En moyenne, les femmes ont de moins bons résultats que les hommes aux tests de connaissances financières et ont moins confiance en elles quand il s’agit de leurs compétences financières. La prise de conscience politique de l'existence et de la pertinence de ces différences reste néanmoins à ce jour plutôt faible. La recherche (quoique limitée) portant sur les facteurs expliquant ces différences met en avant plusieurs explications potentielles et complémentaires comme les différences de compétences, de comportements, et d’opportunités. Dans ce contexte, la contribution que peuvent apporter des programmes d’éducation financière performant et adaptés aux besoins des femmes est prometteuse et mérite d’être explorée plus avant.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Working Papers on Finance, Insurance and Private Pensions with number 14.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:dafaad:14-en
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