Financial literacy


March 2015 - Are the gender differences found in mathematics or reading performance also observed in financial literacy performance? The 2012 PISA financial literacy assessment revealed that there are no gender differences in financial literacy scores among 15-year-old students in most countries and economies participating in the exercise. Only in Italy do boys perform better than girls, but differences are small.

In contrast to the lack of gender differences among 15-year-old students, several studies do report gender differences among adults, including in countries and economies that participated in the 2012 PISA financial literacy assessment (OECD, 2013).

The fact that gender differences are consistently reported among adults but not among 15-year-old students may be due to the fact that, at least to some extent, gender differences in adulthood are related to the different socio-economic characteristics of men and women. For example, as boys and girls grow up, they may be exposed to different opportunities to learn and improve their financial competencies, such as different access to labour and financial markets, and therefore they may develop different levels of financial knowledge and different financial strategies in adulthood over time.

Financial literacy performance, by gender

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Note: Countries and economies where gender differences are statistically significant are marked in a darker tone (see Annex A3).
Source: OECD, PISA 2012 Database, Table VI.3.1.


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