It has been reported that some women have previously shied away from applying for a mortgage or asking for financial help because of the belief they would be treated unfairly by the industry because of their gender.
A review commissioned by the Deputy Prime Minister in fact found no evidence that women are treated differently when applying for a mortgage or seeking advice, yet many women still perceive this discrimination to be there. With this in mind, proposals by the Government to work with banks and mortgage lenders to give women confidence that they will get a fair deal is really encouraging.
However, the issue does not end there. If women’s faith in the industry is low, they remain at risk. There is therefore an onus, I believe, on the insurance industry to address any perceived discrimination to ensure that the myth is dispelled and that women – especially those who own a home – are getting the appropriate level of cover they need to protect their homes, incomes and families.
Advisers need to demonstrate that they understand the changing roles of women by discussing their protection insurance needs with them carefully, ensuring that they are covered against the right things at the right time. As an increasing number of women become the main breadwinner, there is even more reason to ensure they are not deterred from seeking financial advice. Tailored information so that women are given the right advice is the only way to redress the balance. The time to start is now.