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The Female Economy – what women want from a financial adviser






As women earn and control an increasing portion of wealth, advisers must reconsider how they engage with this group or risk losing the opportunity to serve them. This will take more than just falling back on reductive stereotypes and “pinkified” marketing tactics.


When it comes to buying power in South Africa, women come out on top. Research by IQ Business has found that women hold the buying power in most South African households, with more than 60% of women in South Africa being the primary purchaser within the household. Essentially, this means they make buying decisions. Women’s buying power should not be overlooked, as their influence and decision-making power are reinventing the consumer market as we know it.




According to the World Bank, 45.47% of the South African labour force is female. Women are also starting to make headway in the job market, especially in previously male-dominated jobs.


A report prepared by the United Nations Development Program that maps gender equality progress in South Africa (2018) states that there has been remarkable progress made in the past 20 years with more girls in school now than 15 years ago. Even more encouraging is that according to the Department of Higher Education and Training, a higher number of women, compared to men, registered, wrote and completed their studies. We are therefore starting to see a significant increase in the number of graduating females. Currently, 59.7% of postgraduate enrollments are female, up 5% from five years ago.


In South Africa, female representation across professions is on an upward trajectory with 20% women in engineering; 39% are chartered accountants; 41% are medical doctors; 27% are actuaries and 21.1% are information technology professionals.


The case for insurance


Female life expectancy has also increased by almost ten years to 67.7 years since the turn of the century. On average, women tend to outlive men by seven to 10 years, according to the World Health Organisation.


As of 2020, South Africa’s female population stood at approximately 30.9 million, meaning that 50.7% of our population is female. Of this, just over 14.5 million falls in the age groups 25 – 64 years, with 9.5 million below 44 years.


We have seen significant strides made by women in the workplace and more are becoming breadwinners for their families. However, there is a disconnection between providing for their families now and having insurance in place to provide for them when they no longer can.


South Africa celebrates Women's Month in August which serves as a reminder to diversify your client portfolio to include women.


It is important not to apply similar messaging for all women regardless of their financial and personal circumstances. As a financial services company focused solely on providing financial solutions for graduate professionals, PPS understands that professional women have different expectations. Some tips include:


  • Treat her as an individual – women want to be treated as individuals and not as a category;
  • It is about the client-adviser relationship – it is not about selling;
  • Have specialised expertise;
  • Explain things in understandable terms;
  • Give her time to process the information – women process information differently and take more time to think, consider various touchpoints of information;
  • Longevity – we need to know that you are in this with us for the long-haul; and
  • Be proactive – when markets/circumstances change.

Women have been gradually evolving when it comes to finances and making financial decisions for themselves and their families. Women are taking ownership of their financial power and are determined to learn more and get actively involved in decision making.


It is time to shift the needle. Ignore them at your own peril!



Source: Motshabi Nomvethe, Head of Technical Marketing at PPS
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