While they still suffer from gender inequality, Brazilian women seem to be breaking the cycle of depending on their spouses as the country now figures among those where women are most involved in long-term financial domestic investments, according to a report by UBS Investor Watch.  The Swiss investment group conducted a study between 2017 and 2019 into nine economies, interviewing 3,652 women who had at least USD 250,000 in investible assets, to find out who makes the financial decisions at home.

Even though Brazilian women replicate the global trend of being more involved with day-to-day decisions, they are also more likely to take the lead on longer-term planning: 55 percent of them lead the family’s investment decisions or equally share the task with their spouses. In Switzerland, for example, that rate falls to 31 percent.

“It is particularly surprising that Brazilian women figure among those who least delegate the management of their net worth to their husbands—which goes against the perception of the Latin American culture as being more sexist,” said UBS Brazil President Sylvia Coutinho to Valor Econômico newspaper.

While the trend to delegate financial decisions to spouses seems to persist among younger women worldwide, Brazil once again goes against the current: 40 percent of Brazilian women aged 20 to 34 defer the task, against a global average of 59 percent.


Despite the gender gap, Brazilian women take the lead on investment decisions


Reasons why women defer investment decisions to spouses


Gender inequality

On the other hand, 93 percent of Brazilian women believe their husbands have more financial knowledge than they do—the highest percentage in the world. Although it seems contradictory—considering that Brazilian women are, on average, more formally educated than men—it exposes how the lack of financial education in Brazil is a widespread problem. It also reflects on how Brazilians approach investments in general—being very shy when it comes to buying stocks, for example.

According to the research, another main reason why women are not in charge of investment planning is that they tend to be more occupied with other pressing issues, such as raising children, or feel discouraged to do that, as their spouse is the main breadwinner at home. In Brazil alone, according to national statistics agency IBGE, women work an extra three hours per week, considering paid work and household chores, but they earn almost 25 percent less than men.

Getting more involved in finances could help to diminish this frustration. The UBS survey shows that 91 percent of women who take shared decisions feel less stressed about it. But not only women reap the benefits of becoming more engaged in finances, with the job market itself seeing positives.

The International Labour Organization projects that Brazilian women’s participation in the job market is 22.1 percent smaller than men’s. If this difference were 25 percent less, Brazil would reap a 3.3 percent increase of its GDP – a much welcome boost to an ailing economy.

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MoneyMar 07, 2019

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BY Natália Tomé Scalzaretto

Natália Tomé Scalzaretto has worked for companies such as Santander Brasil and Reuters, where she covered news ranging from commodities to technology. Most recently, worked as an Editor for Trading News, the information division from TradersClub investor community.