Gender inequality in personal insolvencies?

It has recently been reported that – continuing a trend that commenced in 2014 – young women made up the majority of personal insolvencies in 2015, across England and Wales. In fact, the average personal insolvency rate was 18.2 per 10,000 adults for women in 2015, while for men it was 16.9.

Breaking this down into age groups, in the under 25s category, women represented 65% of personal insolvencies in 2015 and accounted for more than 50% of personal insolvencies amongst the 25 to 34-year-olds. Indeed, it has been suggested that women were now generally more likely to become insolvent than men up until the age of 55. Women were also more likely to adopt a type of personal insolvency called a Debt Relief Order, aimed at people with lower amounts of debt of £20,000 or less.

A number of explanations have been put forward to explain this pattern. Women still earn nearly 20% less than men on average and consequently hold lower average levels of assets, yet they are faced with the same or higher levels of expenditure than men. This can lead to increased amounts of credit card debt and susceptibility to payday lenders, which can leave individuals more exposed to financial shocks. Furthermore, data shows that one in three young men still live at home with their parents, compared to only one in five of young women, which suggests that young women are prone to spend more on accommodation.

If your personal, or your business’s, finances are causing you concern then a confidential discussion with an experienced and qualified specialist to talk through the range of options available may well be the best course of action. Please contact us if you would like an initial consultation, free of charge.