Absa, majority-owned by Barclays, has hosted an event to discuss the financial challenges facing women in today’s economy.
Some of the topics discussed include single parenthood, escalating education and transport costs, and household debt.
The Absa Media Roundtable on Women and their Money took place last week in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Participants at the event underlined the need for sound financial management among women, especially with the ratio of household debt to disposable income currently at a staggering 77 per cent.
This is exacerbated by high debt servicing costs and rising consumer prices.
Ana Bonanni, Head of Absa Private Bank Customer Relations and Services, said: “There is a lack of long-term planning to safeguard women’s finances in the event of retirement, divorce or death. On average, women are worse off than men as more females have to work past retirement age.
Ana added that women are also vulnerable to ‘transmitted debt’ – taking on debt from a spouse or partner because they have guaranteed a loan or are involved in their partner’s business dealings.
She said: “Women therefore often need specialised financial advice to achieve financial health and to grow their wealth.”
Entrepreneurship remains an option for women aiming to achieve financial freedom and security.
Nafeesa Humby, Head of Innovations and Solutions for Enterprise Development at Absa, said: “Entrepreneurship is not only an alternative approach towards conquering challenges facing women financially, but an effective avenue that could facilitate substantial economic growth for the nation.”
Tshiwela Mhlantla, Managing Executive for Absa Personal Loans, added that a substantial portion of the bank’s credit is taken up by female customers: “These women have been found to manage their debt more effectively and their account payment default rate is lower than that of their male counterparts.