Women and the stigma of Bankruptcy

By Iain Wrenshall - Oct 2006

A study by Consumer Credit Counselling Service, (C.C.C.S.) suggests that thousands of women are reluctant to declare themselves bankrupt because of the social stigma attached to it.

The survey concludes that three quarters of the 61% of the people it suggests should go bankrupt are women, and that more than half of these women refuse to take the decision to go bankrupt.

These women fall into two main groups, older women who have lost their jobs or are in financial distress because of a marital breakdown and younger single women who have spent heavily on credit cards financing a hedonistic lifestyle.

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By refusing to accept the best advice and declare themselves bankrupt, these women are putting themselves under tremendous personal pressure as well as straining personal relationships with family members who may be asked to help.

In the first nine months of 2006 the number of people using bankruptcy as a debt solution was up by 36% on the same period from the year before.

Furthermore, accountants KPMG are forecasting that as many as 150,000 individuals will either go bankrupt or apply for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) in 2007.

High bankruptcy fees

The report also points out that 18% of those eligible for bankruptcy were unable to afford the administration and court fees. Mr Malcolm Hurlston, Chairman of the C.C.C.S. said "We are worried that stigma and cost are causing people - women in particular - undue distress and we are now working on solutions with the Insolvency Service".

The Insolvency Service is currently consulting with the industry about an alternative to Bankruptcy known as a Debt Relief Order which is designed to help this smaller group.

If you are experiencing serious financial difficulties and would like to talk to an experienced debt adviser call 0800 088 7503.

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