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. Economics

    The 2007-08 Financial Crisis In Review

    Subprime lenders began filing for bankruptcy in 2007 -- more than 25 during February and March, alone.
  2. Economics

    Lehman Brothers: The Largest Bankruptcy Filing Ever

    Lehman Brothers survived several crises, but the collapse of the U.S. housing market brought the company to its knees.
  3. Investing News

    The Top 5 Female CEOs to Watch Out For in 2016

    Here is why these five women CEOs will make a big impact in 2016.
  4. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Women, Invest In Your Financial Literacy

    Becoming financially literate should be on the to-do list of anyone who is not.
  5. Investing Basics

    Rise of the Co-Investment in Hedge Funds

    Learn about the rise of co-investment deals among hedge funds. See how these high-risk and high-reward opportunities are becoming more popular.
  6. Your Practice

    Famous Women Financial Advisors You Should Know

    You've seen the financial gurus on TV but have you seen these top six financial advisors? They have a lot to offer and a wealth of experience in the field.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    The Top 3 Women-Owned Businesses in Phoenix

    Learn about several of the top companies owned by women in the Phoenix metro area, and discover how these firms are succeeding in Arizona and around the world.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    The Top 3 Women-Owned Businesses in Dallas

    Read about three of the top companies in Dallas owned and operated by women, and learn how these firms are succeeding in Texas and beyond.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    The Top 5 Women-Owned Businesses in Atlanta

    Find out about five of the top women-owned businesses in Atlanta, which include companies in the manufacturing and construction sectors.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    The Top 3 Women-Owned Businesses in Seattle

    Read about several of the top companies in Seattle owned by women, and learn more about what sets these companies apart from the competition.
  1. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. 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 >>
  5. 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 >>
  6. 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 >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  2. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
Trading Center