Urgent action needed to tackle Covid-19’s financial impact on women

Insuring-Women's-Futures-Covid-19-report

Urgent action is needed to ensure women do not take a financial step backwards due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Chartered Insurance Institute’s Insuring Women’s Futures initiative.

The latest Insuring Women’s Futures report, produced by co-founder of the initiative Jane Portas, has revealed the long-term generational impact of Covid-19 on female financial resilience.

The report, published this week, outlines ways the government, the financial services profession and employers can work together to ensure the economic fall-out of Covid-19 doesn’t cause women today to be worse-off than their mother’s and grandmother’s generation.

The report’s recommendations build on the measures to improve female financial resilience that were outlined by the Insuring Women’s Futures Manifesto, which was produced by Ms Portas a year ago. 

Due to women taking on the bulk of unpaid caring responsibility during the pandemic plus a surge in relationship break-ups prompting more enquiries about reducing child maintenance as the economy entered recession, the report concludes Covid-19 risks delaying the closure of the Gender pay gap until 2110, and therefore the gender pension gap to 2160.

Before lockdown, the Gender pay gap was expected to close in 2050 in the UK, meaning that women were set to reach pension parity in 2100.

Key ‘pandemic priority’ recommendations made by the report include:

  • Government should establish ways to support female students at critical academic and career pathways and help women who have lost their jobs gain essential skills that will enable them to secure financially rewarding work. 
  • Financial guidance and advice should be available in the workplace to ensure women whose pensions have been depleted by Covid-19 can get their savings pots back on track.
  • Employers should commit to flexible working and sign-up to Insuring Women’s Futures’ Financial Flexible Working Pledge. Employers should help staff consider and address the impacts of the pandemic on their own and their families’ financial and wider wellbeing.
  • Financial services providers and financial advisers should support Insuring Women’s Futures Inclusive Customer Financial Lives Pledge and help women address the financial risks created by the pandemic.

Ms Portas said: “The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of many of the foundations underpinning women’s economic progress as well as how women with different backgrounds and life journeys are affected.

“Girls and women across society have shouldered the burden of domestic work, caring and home schooling, sustaining the greatest job loss, financial hardship and domestic abuse.

“Women of all ages and at all stages face short-term threats and long-term imbalances to their financial and wider wellbeing.

“Action needs to be taken now to address the immediate Covid-19 financial threats being faced by women, as well as opportunities explored to ‘level up’ for the long term to build a financially fairer society for all.”

Sian Fisher, CEO of the Chartered Insurance Institute and co-founder of Insuring Women’s Futures, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us of the importance of paying attention to, and managing, our financial and wider wellbeing. 

“There is now an even more urgent need to equip girls and women of all ages and in all situations for a resilient and secure financial life.  Firstly, to recover from Covid-19 financial shocks and regain their financial standing, and then to work towards more balanced financial wellbeing and financial security for the long term.

“The profession and government must unite to explore how we can rebuild our collective financial wellbeing with better balance.”

To read the full report Living a financially resilient life in the UK beyond Covid-19 CLICK HERE

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