Fearless girls wanted: The gender gap in financial literacy


On occasion of International Women’s Day 2024, WU will host an event focusing on the gender gap in financial literacy on March 20.

The Fearless Girl bronze statue was put up to mark the 2017 International Women’s Day. With an intrepid gaze, this statue of a little girl stands across from the New York Stock Exchange, one of the most important financial centers in the world. Women who are “fearless girls” in financial matters are still a minority, however. Around the world, women underperform men in financial literacy tests. This significant knowledge gap can also be observed in Austria. On occasion of International Women’s Day 2024, WU will host an event focusing on the gender gap in financial literacy on March 20, where experts will explain why this gap exists, what its causes are, and where it can be observed most clearly.

Empirical research suggests that many women – regardless of age and education – have less financial knowledge than men and are also less confident about their knowledge. On average, they have a harder time answering financial literacy questions on topics such as inflation, interest, bonds, and risk diversification. On the one hand, women are on average more prudent in their day-to-day handling of money than men, and they are also less likely to accumulate debts. On the other hand, however, they are also very risk averse in their investments and generally achieve lower returns. Their career choices and extended periods of part-time work often contribute to the fact that women have lower working and pension incomes.

More support is needed

Bettina Fuhrmann, WU professor and head of the Institute for Business Education, co-organizes the event and is also one of the panelists. She says, “Women in couples often rely on others to make financial decisions for them. This means that they have no opportunities to develop their financial knowledge and experience. Only when we look at the subgroup of single-living women who are divorced or widowed, we find that women are on par with the men surveyed in terms of financial knowledge. This means that we need to provide more support to women to help them build up financial literacy, to become informed, to manage financial decisions, to go out and get involved, and to develop the confidence needed for making independent financial decisions: We need more Fearless Girls!”

At the event, researchers and expert practitioners will shed light on the current state of research on this topic, talk about challenges ranging from pocket money and maternity leave to poverty in old age, and discuss practical solutions for overcoming the gender gap in financial literacy.

The Gender Gap in Financial Literacy

When? March 20, 2024, 5:00–6:30pm
Where? Library & Learning Center, Club Lounge, level 1

Click here for the event details.

If you would like to attend, please sign up for the event by sending an email to

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