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Finances don’t have to be a man’s world

The pressure for diversity and equality in the workforce is increasing, particularly following the WGEA gender pay gap report released last week.

Understanding the gender gap in financial literacy is key to crafting policies that address inequalities and enhance women’s financial behaviour. 

Concerningly, according to Getty Images’ VisualGPS research, nearly two-thirds of women in ANZ still do not feel represented in media & advertising. Gender representation in finance imagery and customer choices significantly influence perceptions of gender interactions with financial services.  Despite equal acknowledgment from both men and women regarding their struggles to maintain control over finances (47% men versus 48% women – VisualGPS), women are less likely depicted managing their finances and more likely to be portrayed spending the money. The reality is 75% of Australian couples share financial control. 

These portrayals perpetuate stereotypes and undermine women’s financial confidence, hindering their relatability and making it more difficult for women to connect to the imagery being depicted. 

Gender clichés, debt, and spending

Women are more likely to be seen in images and videos downloaded by Getty Images’ finance-related customers than men, however these depictions frequently reinforce gender stereotypes, such as the ‘shopaholic’ trope.  Women are disproportionately visualised engaging in activities like shopping online, shopping in retail stores, or using credit cards. To foster more authentic portrayals, finance visuals should move beyond materialistic ideals and focus on themes like financial security and responsible budgeting. VisualGPS data revealed (25%)  Australian women exhibit lower levels of optimism regarding their financial futures compared to (35%) men.  Furthermore, (66%) women are more likely to express concerns about retirement savings than (52%) men) . To resonate with women, finance visuals should shift focus towards visual concepts like financial security, rather than solely emphasising luxury lifestyle, depicting the reality of true women’s financial situations.. 

Bridging the gender financial literacy gap

Historically, women have been less active in the investing space than men, which translates visually: women are less likely to be featured in popular images related to investing. Recent VisualGPS data has revealed that if women were to receive an unexpected large sum of money, 45% of Australian women state they would opt to put it into a savings account. Same percentage for men. Nevertheless,  in financial visuals, men often dominate, portrayed as actively managing investments and leading discussions.  Empowering imagery showcasing women actively participating in investing can help normalise this behaviour, foster greater confidence and participation in financial literacy, and propel Australia forward in minimising the gender financial literacy gap. 

Building connections with female consumers

Getty Images VisualGPS data, highlighted that 72% of Australian women are more inclined to view businesses favourably when they address the difficulties commonly encountered by them. While top finance visuals and videos often overlook it, financial strain is a stark reality for many. By portraying real women experiencing a wide range of emotions and uncertainty while confronting relatable financial hurdles, particularly amidst today’s economic conditions, companies can forge stronger bonds between businesses and female consumers.

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Kate Rourke

Kate Rourke

Kate is Getty Images' Head of Asia Pacific for Creative Insights. She sets Getty's global content strategy through analysing visual communication trends. This knowledge helps inform Creative Insights – an online destination of insights by Getty Images.

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