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Women are feeling the cost-of-living crisis more

Female finances under greater pressure than during the pandemic

Date: 08 January 2024

3 minute read

The cost-of-living crisis has disproportionately impacted women’s finances and their ability to withstand the potential impacts of a recession, according to our latest research*.

In fact, should the UK enter a recession, over a third (36%) of women would not be able to afford their everyday expenses, compared with just a quarter (26%) of men.

There seems to be even greater pressure on women’s finances today than during the coronavirus pandemic, which was proven to have disproportionately impacted women’s finances:


End of 2021

End of 2023

% of women who said they feel financially worse off now than they did at the end of the previous year.



Comparatively just 25% of men feel the same way.

Men were also much more likely to consider themselves to be financially resilient to a recession should one materialise.




% who feel in a better financial position that they were last year, and their current finances and earnings would allow them to manage your daily expenses should the UK enter a recession.



Ongoing struggle

Not surprisingly, the ongoing cost of living crisis has seen many people struggle financially this year. The ONS recently reported that

  • 40% of adults said that affording their rent or mortgage payments was difficult
  • 27% of households reported that they did not have enough savings to cover a 25% fall in household employment income.

Looking ahead to next year, women are expecting to face greater financial pressures than men:

  • 21% of women do not expect to have any disposable income available in 2024, compared to 17% of men.

The government’s Women and Equalities Committee recently held an evidence session exploring the impact of the rising cost of living on women. Representatives of women’s centres and programmes supporting women and their families provided insights on women’s experiences across the country. The Committee heard that the cumulative impact of both the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis has heightened women’s reliance on support services, and that the gender pay and earnings gap has made women more vulnerable to the cost-of-living crisis.

The UK has so far narrowly avoided a recession, but we are not out of the woods yet and it is concerning that more than a third of women feel they would not be able to afford their everyday expenses should one materialise.

We asked Angela Davy-Makwana, financial planning consultant at Quilter, for her views on what women could do:

“If you are feeling the strain of the cost-of-living crisis and are concerned about the prospect of a recession, it’s well worth setting aside some time aside to properly assess your finances and taking steps to improve them."

My four tips that can make a real difference to your financial security are:

  1. Create a budget to help you get on top of things.
  2. Put more money aside each month wherever possible to build up your emergency rainy day fund.
  3. Ensure you are aware of your spending and cut back where you can
  4. Reassess whether you can secure better to help increase the amount of money you have left at the end of each month

If you are really struggling with your finances:

Take professional advice

Professional financial advice can be highly beneficial as a financial planner will support you in making the best decisions for your personal finances, based on both your needs in the near term as well as your future goals with the support of tools such as cashflow analysis.

With Quilter Financial Advisers, your initial consultation is free. Why not get in touch to find out how we can help:

08000 85 85 90

*YouGov research conducted for Quilter. Total sample size was 2001 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken online between 11-12 December 2023. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults.