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The financial industry has to become more inclusive of the female market






Over the last 30 years there have been significant changes in the role of women; both socially and financially. Traditionally, men tended to be the household breadwinners however, according to recent Statistics SA data, 41.3% of South African households are now headed by women. In addition, women accounted for 43.8% of total employment in the second quarter of 2018 with 32% of managers in South Africa being female.

“As women become more financially independent, their financial needs change accordingly. The financial industry still has a long way to go when it comes to catering for its female audience in a comprehensive manner though”, says Johan Nel, CEO of Iemas Financial Services.

Although some industries have caught on when it comes to tailor-made products such as insurance, a big gap still exists to address the issue of financial inclusion of women. Nel goes on to say that “The financial industry has to look at the fundamental differences between the financial needs of men versus those of women. Products and services need to be developed to address the unique needs of women and enable them to manage their finances effectively to become financially healthy and independent.”

A few realities to take into account when it comes to the development of female-specific financial products and services include:

  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), women generally outlive men by 7 to 10 years.  As such, they need retirement/pension products that will sustain them for longer.
  • According to the WHO, women generally earn 15% to 17% less than their male counterparts for the same job. Thus, women require more affordable financial products, to suit their specific financial needs.
  • In terms of divorce, women tend to be worse off financially than their male counterparts. Thus, affordable loan products and legal services will go a long way in assisting women during and after a divorce.
  • Most woman experience financial strain after child birth as there are added financial responsibilities when caring for a child as well as loss of income during maternity leave (in many cases women are not remunerated, or only receive a portion of their income). As such, savings plans could be developed that specifically cater for this need.

Co-operatives are people-centred enterprises and Iemas, South Africa’s largest financial services co-operative, is no different. The Co-operative continuously strives to empower women in the communities in which it operates. Iemas’ 2017 employee complement at financial yearend was 64% female and 36% male. “A comparison on equal work for equal pay based on gender within Iemas, revealed that there were no significant deviations. Something that we are very proud of. In addition, we also reach out to our wider female communities by supporting programmes specifically aimed at the upliftment of girls and women. One such example is our continued support of a transitional residential facility for young girls at risk. We believe that through programmes like these we can assist in helping young girls to uplift themselves and become economically and socially independent” Nel concludes.

About Iemas Financial Services (Co-operative) Limited

Iemas Financial Services is a co-operative that offers a wide range of affordable and competitive financial products and services to over 161,000 members across South Africa.

At the heart of Iemas’ co-operative business model is the principle that the organisation is owned by, and operated for the benefit of those using its services (referred to as its members), and Iemas members annually share in the profits of the organisation based on the products/services they utilised during the year. Iemas has agreements with over 600 employers authorising the co-operative to offer its financial products and services to their employees.

With a history spanning over 80 years, Iemas has extensive experience in providing financial services and its product portfolio includes: Vehicle financing | comprehensive insurance solutions | educational loans | secured and unsecured personal loans | a purchase card | housing solutions.

Insurance products are offered through Iemas’ wholly owned subsidiary Iemas Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd. Iemas Financial Services (Co-operative) Limited is a registered credit provider (NCRCP 1332) and Iemas Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial services provider (FSP 47563). 

Source: Iemas Financial Services (Co-operative) Limited
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