A new course is setting out to help women be more confident with their money.
As service industries including hospitality and tourism have borne the brunt of COVID-19, more women than men have lost jobs. According to the Statistics New Zealand December 2020 household labour force survey, 73,000 women were unemployed and actively seeking work, as opposed to 68,000 men. In December, the total average hourly earnings were $32.28 for females and $35.84 for males.
Public Service Commission gender pay gap taskforce manager Alex Chadwick confirmed over the last two years, the public service gender pay gap has closed from 12.2 percent to 9.6 percent. Progress has been made, "but we still have a long way to go."
Acknowledging the gender pay gap, to coincide with International Women's Day the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) has launched a new course catering to women, to help them make good money decisions.
Retirement commission and head of CFFC Jane Wrightson says added to the fact more women than men lost jobs due to COVID-19, women tend to take time off work to care for children and relatives. This means they have less opportunity to save for retirement.
"Our research shows that women have suffered the most from job loss during the pandemic, which comes on top of other economic disadvantages they suffer throughout their working life," Wrightson says.
Keeping households running meant many women shouldered the stress of juggling money, but didn't necessarily get involved in money discussions or investing for the future.
"Women view money differently to men: for us, it's as much about providing for our loved ones as building a nest egg," Wrightson adds.
Called 'Sorted Women', the course looks at the unique money challenges women face and solutions to overcome them. It also provides strategies for women to talk about money and increase their financial well being.
Equal Exes founder Bridgette Jackson suggests all women including those in happy relationships, safeguard themselves financially by looking at ways to improve their financial knowledge.
It may be as simple as asking partners to help them be more involved, and understanding the total value of their joint assets and how much is owed on them. Women could also ask a partner or financial adviser for help getting started in investing.
"I always say to women nothing is guaranteed - always have your hand in something, even if it's just charity work or working one day a week," Jackson says.
Over three-quarters of the women Jackson sees leaving relationships were having to start again with limited financial knowledge. Many had been at home with children - some for up to fifteen years - and relied on a high-earning partner.
Aside from paying household bills, it was common for women to use joint accounts and supplementary credit cards, without needing to learn budgeting skills.
"Part of that new beginning is the financial side...'How am I going to be financially as a single person?' It can be very scary," Jackson adds.
'Sorted Women' is available through the Commission for Financial Capability. It's run as a two-hour workshop within the workplace and can be booked by employers.