Women are facing higher insolvency rates than men

Wednesday 24 July, 2019 Individual Voluntary Arrangement

The latest figures from trade body R3 show that personal insolvency for women is on the rise.

The personal insolvency rate for women in 2018 in England and Wales was 26.6 per 10,000 adults, against 23.3 for men, according to annual statistics by The Insolvency Service. That means last year, women made up 54.3% of insolvencies, which is a huge jump from the 30% of insolvencies women made up in 2000.

In the past, men were more likely to become insolvent, but since the start of this decade the gap has narrowed and has now come to a point where women have higher insolvency rates. In fact, 2018 was the fifth straight year that the rate of insolvency was higher for women than men.

Across the UK

In 2018, figures show that every region across England & Wales saw their insolvency figures tip with a female majoirty. The North East saw the most evident divide with 55.6pc of insolvency cases related to women whereas London felt the least divide, with 52.6pc of new insolvency cases being related to women.

Why is this happening?

People may be quick to blame the rise of ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes, online shopping deals which see people spend more than they would have otherwise, and other retail reasons. However, as put by R3’s Mark Sands said: “The gender split in insolvency is a sober reminder that women are more likely to be economically disadvantaged than men”.

The reason for this woman majority in insolvencies is most likely down to women being more likely to work part time, and the notorious gender pay gap. Women make up a majority of single parents, which has been linked strongly with financial hardship.

What does this mean for insolvencies in general?

It’s clear from the figures released that Insolvencies related to women are on the rise, but what about in general? Well it seems the picture is just as bleak, as overall, the total number of insolvencies in England & Wales has continued to rise for a third year in a row.

Insolvency rates in the UK remain highest for 35 to 44 year olds, while the age group of 25 to 34-year-olds saw the largest rate increase for the second straight year.