Written by Blackbullion

Nearly 70% of female students say money worries have impacted their mental health in new Blackbullion report

The financial wellbeing of female students has been hardest hit by the pandemic. New research from Blackbullion has found that 69% of female students say worrying about money negatively impacts their mental health compared to 59% of male students. The Money and mental health: how financial wellbeing impacts students report also found that over three quarters (78%) of female students actively worry about finances, compared to 66% of their male counterparts.

The financial fallout of the pandemic has also made completing degrees more precarious for female students. Over a quarter (27%) of female uni students surveyed have considered dropping out from their degrees due to money worries, compared to a fifth (20%) of male students.

Female students more exposed to mental health impact of financial wellbeing

While it’s clear finances have engulfed the undergraduate experience throughout the pandemic, Blackbullion’s research reveals that female students’ mental health has been most affected. Where student mental health was negatively impacted by money worries, 57% of female students regularly experience anxiety (compared to 30% of males) and 66% of female students found financial worries regularly trigger stress (compared to 43% of male students).

Money constraints play out in other areas too; 36% of women have skipped a meal to save money, compared to 26% of men surveyed.

Money confidence gap starts before uni

Blackbullion’s findings also show that women are less confident about money at university – as well as more cautious, starting with the decision to go to uni in the first place; 86% of female students factored the cost of living into their decision. 78% of males said the same.

Two thirds (66%) of female students say they wouldn’t be able to complete their degree without additional financial help from parents or guardians (not including loans and grants) compared to 51% of male students. Despite this, women find it harder to talk about money, or worryingly, ask for help: 30% of female uni students felt they couldn’t ask a parent or guardian for money while 16% of male students felt this way.

What’s more, the monthly budget for female students averages at £562, 10% lower than the £622 average for male students. 

At the same time, 21% of male students found a way to generate income online, using methods such as TikTok and Instagram. This compared to 11% of female counterparts, echoing other reports on differences in female and male entrepreneurship.

“We know that women have been hardest hit by the pandemic fall-out, in terms of jobs and money,” says Vivi Friedgut, CEO and founder of Blackbullion. “We’re now seeing this affect education too. So the question is, how do we change this narrative?”

“Mental health and financial wellbeing are inextricably linked. With so much disruption to student lives, and campuses just starting to open, it’s essential we minimise the impact of financial pressures which is why we’re working so closely with universities to take a holistic view of how we can better support students’ financial wellbeing.”

“While financial wellbeing isn’t a women’s issue, the data shows that women have a different relationship to money than men. We need to look at opening up a transparent conversation around money, strip back the shame and secrecy that shrouds money issues and embrace the idea that money skills can be, and should be, available to everyone. Financial literacy is always the first step towards financial wellbeing.”

A full copy of Blackbullion’s report is available here.


Methodology

The research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Blackbullion, and completed by 1,000 university students across the UK between 12th-19th January 2021. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles

When referring to males and females, these are people who have chosen to identify as either male or female at the beginning of the survey.

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