Is there a gender gap regarding financial knowledge?

Yes there is, according to the results of the recent Survey of Financial CompetencesAbre en ventana nueva  (ECF in Spanish), performed jointly to a representative sample of adult Spanish citizens (between ages 18 and 79) by Banco de España and the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), as part of the Financial Education Plan.

The resulting report highlights the difference between men and women when answering questions about financial knowledge, particularly:

A higher proportion of men answer correctly: among others, the ECF raises questions regarding knowledge on inflation, compound interest and risk diversification. These three questions about financial knowledge have been broadly used in other surveys at the international level. The rate of correct answers to these three questions was 23% for men, versus 12% for women.

Women are more like to answer “I don’t know”: 40% of interviewed women answered they didn’t know the answer to at least one of the questions, while the rate of men was 26%.

Both trends –bigger proportion of men answering correctly and women answering “I don’t know”- have also been seen in other countries like United States of America or Germany, where we find a similar gender gap regarding financial knowledge.

What are the reasons for this? A deeper investigation would be necessary to find out. However, it has been noticed that such gap is smaller among young people (under 35), who mostly live with their parents. In summary, it can be said that differences between genders are minimum among those individuals who still aren’t involved in taking financial decisions.

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