Are financial stereotypes holding you back?

Boy and girl
By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

20 August 2018

How does the media influence your thoughts on money? Research suggests that stereotyping may skew your attitude to finances by gender.

Research agency The Answer carried out a linguistic analysis and imagery review of 300 financial articles from the UK and beyond on behalf of Starling Bank.

Media content aimed at women over a 12-month period was shown to emphasise cutting back on expenses and referred to financial matters as intimidating and complicated. 65% of articles in women's magazines described their female audience as excessive spenders, using terms like 'splurge' and 'shopping spree', while nearly 90% emphasised saving habits like using vouchers and turning hobbies into a secondary revenue stream.

These articles also tended to be accompanied by images of women struggling to cope with personal finances or over-simplified money concepts like a child's piggy bank.

Conversely, content aimed towards men typically featured connotations of strength, power, and intelligence. Male readers were encouraged to be competitive and assumed to be well-versed in professional finance with themes of calculated risk and portfolio investment.

Starling Bank Founder and Chief Executive Anne Boden told The Guardian: "It’s everyday sexism. If women are constantly talked about as either scrimping and saving or managing the pennies to make things go further, that’s what you get reinforced to think money’s all about.

"And of course if you’re a man you’re having different sorts of conversations; you’re prepared to demand more, and not see money as something you have to beg for, but something you have a right to."

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) recently announced their intention to ban adverts that pander to gender stereotypes. Their guidance on the matter includes adverts that depict someone failing to perform a task specifically due to gender and implications that gender is a factor in career choices for young people.

If you are thinking of forming your own financial business after qualification, what thoughts will you put into how you market it to potential customers?

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