Every August, South Africa reflects on the power of women. However, what has lagged is women’s equality in the financial arena. The positive news is that this is changing, making this Women’s Month the ideal time for previously underserved South African women to claim their power.
It’s hard to imagine your dream life without imagining a fierce career to match. However, between an average salary of 28% less than men and the fact that 20% of South African companies still have no women in senior positions, a fierce career is sadly the exception and not the rule for most ladies.
“We’ve definitely had to fight battles. Women still frequently do more work for less pay, although we’re protected by more laws and equality programmes in the workplace,” said Nobantu Masebelanga, Divisional Executive for Human Capital Insurance at Liberty.
Thankfully, progressive workplaces are ensuring more women receive equal salaries. “It takes incredible guts for an organisation to address the gender gap and for male employees to sit down and ask questions around the well-being of their women peers.” However, Masebelanga believes this is always changing.
According to Statistics South Africa, over 60% of households are supported by a single mother, almost none of whom receive financial support. This is compared with just 4% of households depending on a single man. Also, women are still being affected by the financial impact of critical illnesses like cancer.
Liberty’s Claim Statistics for 2018 also reveal that women make up less than half of the insurance coverage customer base even though just over 51% of the population is female. A concerning trend is that Liberty’s Lifestyle Protector client base is made up of 69% male and 31% female.
“Given that over 41% of all South African households are headed by a female, it’s quite scary that many shy away from meeting a financial adviser. Perhaps this is due to a confidence issue,” said Liberty Financial Planning Specialist, Daphne Rampersad.
According to Rampersad, many women feel uncomfortable talking with a member of the opposite sex about finances and would probably be more open with a woman, yet there are too few woman advisers out there.
“The good news is that this tide is turning, with more female financial advisers entering the industry. It is also positive that, in organisations like Liberty, we are working towards attracting more female clients into the fold,” said Rampersad.