Friday 11 July 2014

It was good to see today’s Metro front page looking at the financial problems experienced by young women but it is a strange world, isn’t it, where everything has to be looked at through the lens of celebrity.

No one seems to want to acknowledge that more than a million young women in England are at high risk of being trapped in poverty because of low or no earnings and have fewer escape routes than young men.

The Metro’s story hangs on the assertion that young women are experiencing “debt hell” because they have copied the lavish spending habits of celebrities like Kerry Katona.

New government figures apparently show nearly eight out of 10,000 young women became insolvent last year, compared with “just” four men in 10,000. Of course, there are lots of reasons for insolvency – these young women may have had a go at launching their own business or they may have had to give up work to look after their children or because of ill-health

I couldn’t see evidence that any are splashing out on credit cards because they wanted to emulate their favourite stars. If there are some, it will be a handful. And just because fewer men than women were declared insolvent last year doesn’t mean, of course, that some of them haven’t run up large credit card bills.

One thing did ring true in the Metro’s story as being a particular issue for women – the emphasis on the way people look. Many young women have told me how they have felt judged on the basis of their looks and this can make the difference between them getting a job and not getting one; or even between having enough money and running into debt.