An astonishing rise in insolvencies among women in England and Wales will see their financial failure rate overtake men for the first time, new research has found.
The Debt Advice Foundation said women accounted for 49% of personal insolvencies in 2011, up from 30% a decade previously.
The charity said analysis of trends in Insolvency Service data revealed that rate would remain broadly equal in 2012, with women projected to outstrip their male counterparts in 2013.
Debt Advice Foundation chief executive David Rodger said: “The high level of insolvencies among younger women is particularly worrying, as there is a clear trend here.
“The reasons for that trend, however, remain unclear. We could be seeing the fallout from a continuing gender pay disparity, or women could well be tackling their debt problems at an earlier stage than men.”
The charity said the trend was particularly concerning among younger women.
In the 18-24 age group, two thirds of insolvencies, 66%, were female.
That percentage fell to 54% for women aged 25-34, then 48% for 35-44 year olds.
Analysis of the 2011 figures also revealed significant differences in the type of insolvency that men and women were entering.
Almost 32% of women opted for a Debt Relief Order (DRO).
By comparison, just over 17% of men chose this route.
This was in stark contrast to the gender split for Bankruptcy, where 40% of men and only 29% of women chose this route.
Roger added that a low level of financial education in schools is adding to the problem.
“Young people are not being taught the basics of working out a personal budget,” he said.
“They are not being given the tools to help them understand their own financial position, and without this knowledge they are more susceptible to unscrupulous marketers and struggle to deal with today’s complex and confusing financial landscape.”