Employment figures for women continue to grow, but it seems that attitudes to life insurance and income protection are the same as they were during the feminist movement of the 1970s.
According to research from AXA, nearly half of all working women in the UK have not invested in any kind of financial protection, such as life insurance
, critical illness insurance
or income protection insurance
There are a growing number of women being the main breadwinner in their households, taking on an increasing amount of financial responsibility, and by 2018 it is expected that the number of women of working age in Britain will overtake the number of men who are of working age.
However, despite the increase in their economic activity in the last three decades, families for which the main breadwinner is the female could be vastly under-protected financially if they died or became unable to work due to injury or illness.
The study found that as many as eight million women in the UK do not have life insurance, critical illness insurance or income protection cover in place, and, if the worst happened, could face potentially serious financial consequences.
One potential threat is breast cancer, which one in nine women will be diagnosed with at some point in their lifetime, putting them and their family under strain to keep up with the bills, mortgage repayments and other costs of living.
Almost a third of UK businesses are set up by women, 25 per cent of all established businesses are run by women, and by 2030 a quarter of women in the UK are predicted to be the main breadwinner in their home.
More than a quarter of British women said that they would rely on their partner's insurance policy should anything happen, but AXA urges them to reconsider this plan as only their partner's income is usually protected, and not combined earnings.
Iain Mallon, head of protection at AXA said: "We have seen a significant shift in the role of women since the 1970s, however this shift has not been replicated in women’s attitudes towards protection cover.
"The ‘noughties’ is an era in which women have greater control than ever before over their lives and their finances but they are still failing to recognise their own financial and lifestyle developments in their protection cover. Unlike during the 1970’s, women becoming ill and unable to work now could have significant financial implications for the whole family."
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