If you’re not well versed in the basics of personal finance, you should make a big effort to improve your financial literacy – especially if you are a woman it turns out.
In South Africa, August is nominated “Women’s Month.” It goes back to the 9th of August 1956 when over 20,000 women converged on the Union Buildings to voice their protests against the extension to the so-called Pass Laws. This extension proposed even more restrictions on certain women’s rights.
Where South Africa is on the world financial literacy table
All South Africans have the right to be in control of their personal finances. As a nation, South Africa has a financial literacy rate of 42% according to last year’s figures. It places SA 41st in the table. Although this figure is on a par with many other developed nations, it could and should be higher.
But more worrying is that fact the women are more adversely affected by financial literacy than men according to behavioural scientist Mavis Ureke. During a speech she gave in Women’s Month, Ureke highlighted the poor standard of financial education in South Africa and how this disproportionately impacts on womenfolk here in the Rainbow nation.
Why South African women are especially vulnerable
While it is true that the financial education of children is improving, the improvement in adult financial awareness is much slower. The female population in particular is vulnerable to the problems that lack of financial literacy generates. Why? It is because more women adopt roles as carers and take on responsibilities within the family group.
Women care not only for their children, but often for elderly people in their families too. In today’s society, the woman is often the sole breadwinner and bill payer. Even in a marriage partnership, it is regularly the case that the woman, not her male counterpart, shoulders the responsibility.
With the population growing at an increased rate, there are more mouths to feed and more expenses to be taken on board. It means that it is critical for South African women to understand the basics of sound financial management. They also need to be aware of the different types of help that are available and whether they will impact positively or negatively on their financial situation.
If you are an adult female, and you wish to improve your financial literacy, what options are open to you?
Where to start your financial education
A good place to start looking into financial literacy in adults is (of course) the internet. There’s a great foundation article entitled “The Four Pillars of Financial Literacy and Why They’re Important,” which you can find here for free. It goes some way towards explaining what debt is, how to create a budget, and why it is important to try to save on a regular basis. It also touches on the subject of investing and how, if you can afford it, it can benefit you.
The sooner that financial education is put on the official school curriculum for kids across South Africa, the sooner we can expect to see a significant improvement in financial awareness among children and young adults.
The fintech industry is at last beginning to take the initiative through things like the IMB workshops which are specifically aimed at the female population. If you want to improve your financial literacy, initiatives like this are an excellent place to start.