6 March 2024

For International Women’s Day 2024, it’s essential to shine a light on the financial challenges faced by women in Scotland. At Money Advice Scotland, we understand the profound impact that debt can have on individuals and families, particularly women who often bear a disproportionate burden. In this blog post, we’ll explore the complex issues surrounding women and debt in Scotland and discuss possible policy solutions to foster economic empowerment and equality.


The gendered nature of debt 

The financial landscape in Scotland reveals a troubling trend: women are increasingly shouldering the burden of debt. With lower savings and a higher likelihood of being in debt, women face unique challenges in managing their finances. The cost of living crisis further exacerbates these disparities, with women disproportionately affected by factors such as reliance on benefits and wealth inequalities.


Key findings and statistics 

Statistics paint a stark picture of the debt crisis facing women in Scotland. Approximately 700,000 individuals are at risk of or already in problem debt, with women bearing the brunt of this burden. Lone parent households, predominantly led by women, face particular vulnerability due to lower income and limited savings. Moreover, the gendered impact of the cost of living crisis underscores the urgent need for targeted interventions to address the financial challenges faced by women.


Policy recommendations 

To address these challenges, we propose a series of policy recommendations aimed at promoting economic equality and financial resilience among women in Scotland:

  • Closing the gender pay gap: Implement policies to diminish the gender pay gap and ensure equal economic opportunities for women.
  • Alleviating energy debt disparities: Develop strategies to reduce energy debt among women and guarantee affordable access to essential services.
  • Strengthening financial resilience: Implement policies targeting lone parent households to enhance overall financial resilience.
  • Gender-specific cost of living interventions: Devise targeted interventions to counter the gendered impact of the cost of living crisis and address specific challenges faced by women.
  • Preventive measures for problem debt: Introduce financial education programs empowering women to avoid problem debt and promote responsible financial management.
  • Enhanced benefits support: Introduce enhanced benefits measures as a robust safety net for women facing financial difficulties.


As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us recommit ourselves to addressing the financial challenges faced by women in Scotland. By implementing targeted policies and fostering a culture of economic empowerment, we can create a more fair and just financial landscape where all women have the opportunity to thrive. At Money Advice Scotland, we stand ready to support and advocate for policies that promote the financial wellbeing of women across Scotland.

Together, let’s empower women and build a future where financial security knows no gender.


To mark International Women's Day 2024, and address the gender disparities in debt in Scotland, we have produced a policy brief which draws on key findings and statistics to highlight the need to alleviate the financial challenges encountered by women.

Read the Policy Brief