DCFO IWD Series: Closing the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy, with Wisr’s Joanne Edwards

3 mins read

Joanne Edwards, Wisr, Chief Risk and Data Officer | 7 March 2022

Joanne Edwards

Chief Risk and Data Officer at Wisr

An outstanding female in finance, Wisr’s Chief Risk and Data Officer Joanne Edwards is a pioneer of women in STEM. Joanne is the 2021 winner of Achievement in Regulation & Compliance for the Women in Banking & Finance (WIBF) Awards, a prime example of where a Maths degree can take you in life.

Here to offer her insights on the changes necessary to close the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy, Joanne will be sharing her commentary and top tips for working towards economic gender equality.

“According to Insights from HILDA Data, two-thirds (63%) of Australian men are financially literate, as opposed to fewer than one in two (48%) women[1].

When it comes to closing the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy, the first port of call is eradicating harmful stereotypes about women and finance and women in finance. Acknowledging that the space should be as accessible for women as for men is integral and the first step to an equal financial playing field. When women feel more confident to make financial decisions and access the necessary education, this opens the pathway to gaining financial independence.

Alongside reducing stereotypes, addressing and removing unconscious bias in the workplace is critical to allowing women to thrive in STEM roles. When detrimental prejudices, stereotypes and biases are eradicated, women can freely engage in the financial space. Removing the barriers of entry will allow women to take control of their finances, growing their confidence, wealth and financial literacy.”

Joanne’s Top-Tips:

  1. Keep tabs on your credit score and superannuation.

Commonly overlooked, both of these are essential to a solid financial foundation. A good credit score can help you gain access to the best rates on credit services whilst increasing your chances of loan approvals.

Remember, your superannuation is your money – it’s an investment portfolio you have paid for that is designed to allow you to be financially comfortable at retirement age. However, according to a 2019 study by the Australian Human Rights Commission[2], the number of older homeless women in Australia increased by over 30% between 2011 and 2016. With various social and economic factors contributing to this figure, future-proofing your finances is essential.

By letting time and compound interest do their thing, you could have a pretty comfortable nest egg set up for your retirement. However, making regular contributions or salary sacrifices can bolster your superannuation and set you in good stead for your future.

2. Get up to scratch with the financial fundamentals.

Knowledge is power, so educating yourself on the fundamentals is critical to financial literacy. Understanding your outgoings, discretionary spending, superannuation status, credit score, interest rates (if applicable), tax bracket and setting up an emergency fund are great places to start. This leads me on to…

3. Know what resources are available to you and use them

There are countless ways to get up to scratch with a wealth of information and resources at your fingertips. Whether through government or non-profit resources such as the ATO website, Moneysmart or Creditsmart, or other channels such as podcasts, books, websites, apps or traditional routes such as Financial Advisors, there is something for everyone.

At Wisr, our fundamental purpose is to help improve the financial wellness of all Australians. Alongside our Wisr App, Credit Score comparison, loan products and educational resources, we have partnered with Financy for International Women’s Day. Financy is dedicated to improving financial literacy and economic wellbeing for women.

Financy is the organisation behind the Women’s Index. A quarterly report that tracks women’s financial progress across the Australian economy, providing valuable insights into where we’re closing the gap and where we still have work to do.

While we have a way to go to reach financial equality, we see more women taking the wheel, seeking education and being offered excellent opportunities in their fields. With an abundance of resources at our fingertips, we can all work together on closing the gap.”

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