For decades, men would bring home the bacon while women would balance the budget. A strange arrangement, allowing women to control the money that they don’t make, but this has been the traditional role for many years.
But now that women are paid equally (more or less), you might expect these roles to change, or at least be reexamined, and that is exactly what Smith College and Time Magazine did.
Not only did they find out that women are poor financial planners in comparison to men, they also discovered that a college education does no help.
Prior to a study taken at Smith College, a women’s college in Massachusetts, it was believed that a college degree would level the personal finance playing field, whether or not either gender took a personal finance course in college. But the study proved that this claim is quite false and women tend to have some serious gaps in knowledge when it comes to personal finance.
This study naturally asks the question, “why is this so?”
After all, women are just as intelligent and as educated as men, so it seems that there should be no reason for this gap in knowledge.
In the case of college educated women, the problem seems to lie not in the question of education versus no education (also this certainly plays a big part in the problem), but in the field in which each gender is educated.
Look at an average college campus. The buildings are organized by department. You’ve got the sciences, humanities, economics, arts, and the others. When you take a cross section of the students of each department, you find that there are many more women in the humanities and the arts than in economics or the sciences.
Fast forward to the future and look at the careers of these college students, or even take a look at the corporate world today. It is much rarer to find a female CFO than a male one. Men generally hold the more powerful finance jobs that require more responsibility.
Although both genders are educated, they are educated in different ways.
Fortunately, this fact is continuing to change. More and more women are choosing “non-traditional” career paths and getting degrees in math and science based fields. Hopefully the personal finance gender gap will close sooner than later.
For more on this topic please see http://moneyland.time.com/2012/06/28/women-and-money-even-college-grads-flunk-personal-finance/