The answer is ‘2093’ — can you guess the question?

It’s not the value of your tax refund. It’s not the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in New York City. And no, it’s not the number of jelly beans in that jar. 

It’s the year in which the gender pay gap will close for the average American worker. 

If that projection makes you queasy, we’ve got even worse news: while some progress has been made in recent years to improve gender equality, a 2020 review by the AAUW shows that inequality in the workplace is just as persistent and pervasive for women as ever. According to the study, the average white woman working full-time earns 79 cents on her male counterpart’s dollar, and that number drops to 63 cents for both Black and Pacific Islander women, 60 cents for Native American women, and 55 cents for Latinas when compared to white men. Factoring in the slew of other systemic disadvantages women will face leads to a troubling summary: women have just 32% of the wealth men have accumulated and less than half of the average man’s net worth.

So what can employers do? 

As an employer, reviewing and removing discriminatory policies is imperative to progress. But employee benefits programs also create a unique opportunity for employers to take a proactive approach to advancing gender equity in the workplace. And given the economic impacts of gender inequality, a holistic financial wellbeing benefits program is crucial. 

Here are three key pillars of financial wellness benefits that can move the needle for women on your team: 

Retirement planning

Financial burdens and inequities don’t clock out when women retire: women have only 70% of the overall retirement income men have and are more likely to spend their careers with employers that don’t offer a retirement savings plan. Offering women robust options for retirement saving and planning helps ensure the longevity of financial security and independence in their golden years. 

Financial literacy tools

Only 41% of women reported feeling financially stable in 2020 — and with COVID-19 exacerbating the impacts of an economic system that is already unfair to women, expanded resources for financial literacy and preparedness are a must. Get started with high-impact options like a one-on-one financial coaching service or monthly group webinars, subscriptions to personal budget or investing platforms, or an emergency savings program (which could be as simple as split direct deposit or as robust as funding an employer match). 

Student loan debt assistance

Women hold two-thirds — $929 billion — of the country’s total student loan debt, a burden that becomes even more crushing when combined with unequal pay and career advancement, the high cost of childcare, the impacts of the “motherhood penalty”, and all the other ways working women are let down. Helping your employees find smarter, faster ways to repay student loan debt opens the door for women to offset the cost of raising a family, close in on financial goals like homeownership, and plan for the future through investments, emergency savings, and retirement funds. 

With tools for making tax-advantaged monthly contributions to employees’ student loan payments, using spare change and cash back to chip away at debt, finding personalized loan refinancing plans and more, makes it easy for employers to help crush employees’ student debt. Want to learn more about how you can help the women on your team take charge of their financial health? Schedule a demo today.