Is this where the gender wage gap started? Pocket money for boys vs girls


We recently did some research about how much female sports stars are paid vs their male counterparts. Suffice to say, the results weren't very encouraging. Now, new research has revealed that the gender wage gap, and unequal pay for men and women might already start (and was encouraged) by parents when giving you pocket money as a child. 

For many, gender determines how much pocket money or allowance they receive as a boy or a girl.

According to the Guardian, last year, a report by market research agency Childwise says that boys earn 20% more pocket money than girls and that the gap widens between the ages of 11 and 16 to 30%.

The report is based on online surveys with 2 000 schoolchildren and speaks not only to the inequality between boys and girls in terms of money, but also the different messages parents give their sons and daughters about money and what they do to earn it. 

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The survey also found that boys are more likely to be given regular cash payments, while parents of girls are more likely to keep control of their daughters’ money then hand it over when required. 

Another study featured on the UK Standard from Santander Bank showed that boys get nearly double what girls do and girls are rewarded more modestly for good behaviour than boys.

A third survey featured on the BBC from Halifax banking company which involved more than 1 200 children and 575 parents found that boys get paid 13% more than girls. 

The survey says boys were also more likely to complain and ask for more even though 40% of children thought they should be given more money. 

So after reading about these studies, I tried to remember what my own pocket money was compared to my siblings. Yes. It was a lot less than theirs, but due to the fact that I was so much younger than them (they’re 10 and 14 years older than me respectively), I always thought it was fair because I was going to use the R5 for sweets while my brother bought comics and my sister went out quite regularly.

Then I called my sister and she said that she usually got more money because she was older even though there was only four years difference between her and my brother. So are there any real life examples of gender playing a part in the disparity in pocket money?

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So then I turned to young Thobe, who is the youngest girl after four boys and she told me that she was given substantially less pocket money than they were, I reconsidered my situation. “I always got less money than they did for lunch at school. My two brothers were in high school when I was in primary school so I would get R2 every day (R10 a week) and they would get R50 per week. I always thought it was because they were older and that maybe the high school tuck shop was more expensive so I was never really bothered by it. Also, I thought I got less because I was the only one who didn’t have the option of not packing food for lunch.”

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Yes, maybe it was because her siblings were older, but what if it was because they were boys? 

One of our readers on Twitter is convinced it's because of gender, saying:  

We then did a poll and asked the News24 audience for their input. Out of 12303 votes, only 5% said that they were paid less because they're women, while 56% said they didn't even get pocket money. Only 10% said it was because they're younger and 27% said that it was equal. 

So it looks like South African parents are less inclined to be unfair towards their children when it comes to money, but it also seems like many of them either couldn't afford to give pocket money or wanted their children to earn money in other ways. 

Another W24 reader says she had to work for her money, her parents didn't give it to her.

Were you ever given more or less pocket money than your siblings? Do you think it was because of your gender or other factors? Tell us about it.

Read more about pocket money on Parent24:

Opening a bank account for your child: which one is best?

How 3 jars can teach your kids the basics of finance

Ever wondered how much pocket money adds up to?

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