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Women in Britain half as likely to save as women in Ghana

Press release -

Women in Britain half as likely to save as women in Ghana

New study into attitudes towards money reveals starkly different outlooks on savings, social aspirations and employment prospects among low income women.

London and Accra, March 5 2012: New research from Barclays, CARE International UK and Plan UK has found that nearly half of low-income women in Britain fail to save any money each month.

Low-income women in Britain are nearly half as likely to save money as women living in Ghana, despite the latter living in a country where many live on less than $2 a day, according to new figures.

A savings survey undertaken by Banking on Change, a partnership between Barclays, CARE International UK and Plan UK, has found that women in Ghana are far more likely to save money, with 94% of them saving each month, compared to just 55% in Britain. In fact, only 27% of those questioned in the UK believe that saving is a priority. The partnership aims to lift around 400,000 people out of poverty in 11 developing countries by developing and extending access to basic financial services in the form of community-managed savings groups. 

The partnership’s experience has found that it is women and girls who tend to be most involved in the management of the community savings groups. Therefore the research focused on women in low-income households in the UK and Ghana, comparing attitudes to savings, debt and future expectations.

Findings also show that just over a quarter (27 per cent) of women in Britain believe saving is a priority, compared to 92 per cent in Ghana.

“Women in Ghana have proved that saving a little regularly can help achieve a more resilient financial future.  The partnership  is able to engage with hard-to-reach groups and widen access to basic financial services, providing women like those in Ghana with the expertise and support to secure a brighter future for their families,” said Catharine French, Barclays Retail and Business Banking Director of Corporate Affairs.

Regular savings enable group members to manage their household finances making them more resilient to financial emergencies and better able to invest in small enterprise.

Other key findings:

• Less than two-thirds of young women in the UK (57 per cent) expect to earn more in the future, compared to 87 per cent in Ghana
• Only half of women in the UK believe they have the skills to earn more money, as opposed to nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) in Ghana
• Less than half (41 per cent) of the young women in the UK want to run their own business, compared to 90 per cent in Ghana
• Only a third of women in the UK consider themselves ambitious, compared to 79 per cent in Ghana. 

Marie Staunton, Chief Executive of Plan UK, said: “These findings tell us that women in Ghana have the ability to lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty.  They have incredible ambition – they just need the tools to help them realise their vision.  That’s why we support village savings and loans groups, through Banking on Change, which enable women who don’t have access to banks to put aside a little money every week, or every month, and make a lasting change.”

Geoffrey Dennis, Chief Executive at CARE International UK said: “This survey shows that no-one is too poor to save. We know that savings are a safety net – with tiny amounts of money, people can literally save their way from the edge of poverty and go on to invest in the future of their family. The women in Ghana we surveyed are leading the way and we have much to learn from them.”

Women  in Ghana also proved more optimistic for their children’s prospects, with nearly all (97 per cent) believing they will have a higher level of disposable income than themselves, compared to less than two-thirds (64 per cent) in the UK.

Financial skills proved equally lacking among women in both countries in terms of ability to save, with 55 per cent in Ghana and 52 per cent in the UK feeling they lack the skills of knowledge to save.

And women in both countries associate high levels of guilt with borrowing money – 55 per cent in Ghana and 67 per cent in the UK.

Plan UK


Notes to Editors
Contacts and information
The full report can be found at
For interviews, further details and case studies, please contact:
Adam Keal  +44 (0)20 7544 3139
Shirin Homawala +44 (0)20 7544 3036

About the survey
123 women in the UK and 106 women in Ghana between the ages of 18 and 34 were interviewed between 9 December 2011 and 6 January 2012.  The interviews were semi-structured, containing qualitative and quantitative questions. The UK survey was conducted by telephone interview with women from across the United Kingdom; in Ghana the women were interviewed face-to-face in the regions of Greater Accra and Volta.  56% of the UK women interviewed have household annual incomes of £15,000 or less (after tax) a year; in Ghana, 77% have an annual income of 2400GHc or less (equivalent to £901) a year.

The UK research was carried out by FreshMinds ( and by URIKA Research ( in Ghana.

About CARE International UK
CARE is one of the world’s leading relief and development organisations, reaching more than 122 million people in over 84 countries in the last year. As part of the partnership, it is leading projects in Mozambique, Peru, Uganda and Vietnam.

About Plan UK
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world, working in 48 developing countries to lift millions of children out of poverty and promote their rights. Plan works with more than 3,500,000 families and their communities each year and as part of the partnership, it is leading projects in Indonesia, Tanzania and Zambia.

About Barclays
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth management, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 144,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for 48 million customers and clients worldwide.



Plan is a global children’s charity. We work with children in the world’s poorest countries to help them build a better future. A future you would want for all children, your family and friends.

For over 70 years we’ve been taking action and standing up for every child’s right to fulfil their potential.

We do what’s needed, where it’s needed most. We do what you would do.

Press contacts

Andy Shipley

Press contact News Editor Media, PR 0300 777 9777