Step aside, Steve
Sure, it's the twenty first century and sure, female students on average outperform male students in maths at school. But old stereotypes die hard and according to new research, a worryingly large percentage of men and women still believe that finance is exclusively a man's game.
In a recent survey of 2,000 UK adults by media agency UM, 37% of men and 22% of women said that the male brain is naturally more suited to maths than the female brain.
A third of men and a quarter of women also believe that working in banking or finance is more appealing to men.
Meanwhile, female respondents demonstrated a lack of confidence in their financial ability, as they were 14% less likely than men to rate themselves as confident when managing and picking financial products, and 39% less likely to believe that their understanding of financial terms and products (such as ISAs, stocks, credit and inflation) is sufficient.
"These findings are particularly alarming given the current focus on getting more female representation in C-suite jobs in the boardrooms of major organisations," said Lauren Raymond, group strategy director at UM.
“In March, we found out that FTSE 100 CEOs named ‘Steve’ and ‘David’ outnumber women and ethnic minority business leaders combined – and CFO is a traditional route to the top job. If we want more female bosses, we need more women willing and able to step into the finance director role.”
However, the research saw a positive uplift in confidence around finance in the responses of younger women, with less than one in five women aged 18-34 suggesting that men have more of a 'maths brain'.
Furthermore, families with clear female role models saw a far less pronounced gap in confidence.
"The first step in engaging women better with the financial sector is to provide more of those role models to inspire the next generation," Raymond added.
“More advertisers should therefore consider using female role models in future campaigns as a way of contributing to the efforts to create more gender equality at the top. Banks, financial institutions and other businesses must do a better job in communicating that females can be equally successful working in finance.”