International Women’s Day: the long road to financial equality


Did you know, Spanish women weren’t able to open a bank account in their own name until 1975? The inequality of the time, even in the legal sphere, meant that no woman could be the sole holder of an account without the consent or authorisation of her husband, father or guardian.

That changed with the enactment of Law 14/1975 of 2 May 1975, which reformed certain articles of the Spanish Civil Code and Commercial Code concerning the legal status of married women and the rights and duties of spouses.

Things are very different today, but there are still some gender gaps, for instance in access to credit.

A study by the Banco de España, The gender gap in bank credit accessAbre en ventana nueva, examined these differences based on CCR data for loans requested by and granted to more than 80,000 firms founded by a sole entrepreneur over the course of a decade.

One of the differences identified was that women-led companies are less likely to obtain financing during the first year of business than those founded by men. However, that disparity was not found in subsequent years, once the company can present the bank with its own accounting information.

There is now far more gender parity in how means of payment are used than was the case in the past. That said, there are still statistics that should give us pause. For instance, a higher proportion of men are users of electronic banking. A report on electronic banking and financial services Abre en ventana nuevaby the National Statistics Institute (INE) found that 64.1% of men use electronic banking compared with 60.1% of women, and the difference is even more pronounced among young people.

Conversely, a recent study on cash use Abre en ventana nuevapublished by the Banco de España reveals that daily use of cards was more common among women than men.

As for the financial knowledge and attitudes of adults in Spain, the results of the Survey of Financial Competences also point to differences between men and women.Abre en ventana nueva

Certainly, significant progress has been made since the days when women were considered financially irresponsible. However, full gender parity in money matters is still some way off.

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