There are large financial inequalities within couples, and these get much worse when a relationship breaks down, according to a report by Prof Stephen McKay at the University of Birmingham.

Prof McKay examined the financial behaviour of men and women, compiling detailed information on women’s and men’s levels of savings and debts. He has revealed large differences in their amount of savings, debt and private pension provision and says that some differences within couples are larger than differences between single men and women.

Prof McKay said: “Despite all the social advances that have been made over the last twenty years, there are still significant inequalities in the finances of men and women. The pay gap that exists between them is fuelling deeper disparities in savings and pension provision and it must be a priority to address the inequity that exists.”

When a relationship breaks down these differences are magnified and men tend to recover more quickly from the financial fallout that women.

The impact of the birth of the first child is also considerable. Before a child is born, both parents tend to be on an even keel in terms of savings. However, a year on, both are less likely to be saving, but the drop is much more dramatic for women. Fathers saving rates returned to normal a decade on, yet women’s rates had climbed no further than 40%.

Prof McKay said: “The results show stark inequalities. We must now prioritise looking at ways in which this gap can be reduced.”


Notes to Editors:

The report is published by the Fawcett Society, and a full version can be downloaded from:

Further Media Information:

Dr Stephen McKay is available for interview. Please contact Anna Mitchell in the Press Office on 0121 414 6029 / 07920 593946.