Study says B.C. women more stressed by finances than women elsewhere in Canada

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VANCOUVER - A new report from Canada's largest community credit union says more than half of women in British Columbia experience "extreme emotional stress" when considering their financial situation.

The report from Vancity reveals a "financial health gender gap" in B.C., and says while money worries cause extreme stress for 52 per cent of women, 38 per cent of men in the province feel the same way.

The study also highlights financial and economic differences between women in B.C. and other parts of Canada.

Using data from the 2017 Canadian Financial Health Index and other sources, the report finds that B.C. women make less money, pay more for housing and face a higher cost of living than women in the rest of the county.

Statistics Canada says B.C. women also make 35 per cent less at work than their male counterparts, while the report shows nearly four in 10 feel physically unwell when mulling finances, compared to 30 per cent of B.C. men.

However, the Vancity study, titled "Money Troubled: Inside B.C.'s financial health gender gap," finds one-third of B.C. women surveyed say they are too busy to think about their cash flow beyond the day-to-day.

Vancity says women can take steps on their own to overcome some issues, but it calls for governments, employers and financial institutions to resolve the financial health gender gap.

"This is a call to action, and time for everyone, women and men, to acknowledge that gender-based financial disparities remain a deeply-embedded reality in Canada, and especially in B.C.," says Sophie Salcito, a Vancity wealth adviser.

Statistics Canada has identified the high cost of child care, low availability of regulated childcare spaces and lack of elder care in urban centres such as Metro Vancouver as factors keeping some women from full participation in the job market.

The Vancity study says more financial literacy courses can help women bridge financial health gaps and it urges governments to diversify vocational interests among girls and women, while companies are encouraged to develop and stick with equal pay policies.

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