The global financial crisis will have a lasting impact, without question. But it will have a particularly pronounced impact on women. Women with the same qualifications of their male counterparts and working the same number of hours, earn on average only 77% of what men in the same jobs earn. Women are falling into poverty faster than men today, as the United States Census is bearing out: as of 2010, 4 million more women were living in poverty than men, out of a total of 46.2 million people. That number has risen over the past several years, at a time when governments on every level from municipal to federal are slashing programs as an attempt at austerity.

The Impact
Early in the global financial crisis, many reported that men were losing more jobs than women, at least in countries like the U.S, where the hardest hit industries were construction and manufacturing. However, the Pew Research Center reports that, since 2009, women are losing jobs at a faster rate and are having less success finding new positions, due in part to jobs in sectors like teaching and health services disappearing as budgets are slashed. Even as jobs in some sectors seem to be coming back, austerity measures are hitting women hard.

Missed Opportunities
Even for women who have access to more opportunities, financial situations now seem much more precarious. Kathryn Garrison, an advisor with Moss Adams Wealth Advisors, has seen dramatic differences in how her female clients are handling tough times: "The market volatility of 2011 unnerved quite a few people and women seem to be more intent now on paying down debt and building up savings. That's a good thing on an individual level."

While keeping as much cash available as possible can help alleviate some fears about what's going to happen to a person financially, it's symptomatic of a larger problem that many women are facing right now. The global financial crisis is leading both women and governments to be financially conservative. That means that women may pass up opportunities, from education to investing, for fear of depleting emergency funds. It also means that there's less money available in governmental budgets for programs that work to reduce poverty and its impacts; philanthropic organizations that would normally help bridge some of the gaps in governmental spending are facing financial problems of their own.

The Poverty Line
The whole impact of the financial crisis on women and girls is dramatic. The number of women living below the poverty line has grown for each of the past four years, and the poverty line is considered somewhat arbitrary; for households consisting of one person, it was $10,890 in 2011. It's difficult to live on that amount as an individual, even double that amount can seem tight. The steps necessary to reduce poverty, at least to pre-crisis levels, seem to be entirely counter to the strategies that governments are taking to cut costs. The Center for American Progress specifically recommends building supportive social services that look at the employment needs (as well as the personal needs) of women and girls, an approach that would benefit women living over the poverty line, as well as well below it.

The Bottom Line
The financial crisis has already had a lasting impact on the opportunities available to women and girls. With governments both local and federal still looking for ways to balance their budgets, it's not unreasonable to expect that many women will find their financial situations getting even worse, before they have the chance to get better.

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Holding Out for Capital Gains Could Be a Mistake

    Holding stocks for the sole purpose of avoiding short-term capital gains taxes may be a mistake, especially if all the signs say get out.
  2. Professionals

    Advisors: Ignore a Spouse at Your Own Peril

    Financial advisors have their work cut out for them when it comes to keeping a spouse or partner in what was formerly a couple-client relationship.
  3. Professionals

    Indie Broker-Dealers with the Most Women Advisors

    How are women advisors represented at independent brokerage firms? Here are the top firms with the most women advisors and why it matters.
  4. Economics

    Is The EU Holding Germany Back?

    As Germany agrees to initiate bailout talks with Greece once again, could all of the EU's economic turmoil result in Germany being better off alone?
  5. Economics

    The Biggest Items Obama Is Still Missing From His Mandate

    Learn how the biggest items missing from Obama's mandate include various forms of tax reform and closing the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.
  6. Professionals

    The Financial Advisory Business: More Women Wanted

    It's no secret that women are underrepresented in the financial advisory business. Here are some reasons why and what's being done about it.
  7. Professionals

    Why Women Choose Women for Financial Advice

    Women often prefer female financial advisors because client and advisor can relate to each other on a variety of levels.
  8. Economics

    A Comparison Between a Default and a Collapse

    Is the Greek default similar to the Lehman Brothers collapse?
  9. Investing Basics

    Who Is The Next Greece?

    Several EU countries are on the potential candidate list, but some municipalities in the U.S. look far more like Greece. Could they be the “next Greece”?
  10. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Dodd-Frank Creates a Liquidity Crunch for Bonds

    While each individual institution is undoubtedly safer due to capital constraints imposed by Dodd-Frank, this makes for a more illiquid market overall. The lack of liquidity will be especially ...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Regional Asset Liquidation Agreement ...

    An agreement between an asset manager and the Federal Deposit ...
  2. The New Deal

    A series of domestic programs designed to help the United States ...
  3. Accelerated Resolution Program ...

    A program designed to reduce the time and cost of resolving failed ...
  4. Asset Liquidation Agreement (ALA)

    A contract between the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ...
  5. Capital Loss Coverage Ratio

    The difference between an asset’s book value and the amount received ...
  6. Gross Cash Recovery (GCR)

    The gross cash colloctions expected over the remaining life of ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. Do negative externalities affect financial markets?

    In economics, a negative externality happens when a decision maker does not pay all the costs for his actions. Economists ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between disposable and discretionary income?

    According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, or BEA, disposable income is the amount of money an individual takes home after ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the major laws (acts) regulating financial institutions that were created ...

    Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in conjunction with Congress, signed into law several major legislative responses ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the similarities and differences between the savings and loan (S&L) crisis ...

    The savings and loan crisis and the subprime mortgage crisis both began with banks creating new profit centers following ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What measures could the U.S. Government take to prevent another crisis similar to ...

    Some of the measures that the U.S. government can take to prevent another crisis similar to the savings and loan (S&L) ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How was the American Dream impacted by the housing market collapse in 2008?

    The American Dream was seriously damaged by the housing market collapse in 2008. In many ways, the American Dream is a self-fulfilling ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!