Less than half (45%) of women feel financially independent, according to a survey.
Nearly two-fifths (38%) of those who do not consider themselves financially independent feel unable to make their own life choices, with some saying they were depending on a partner’s income or had outstanding debts.
Just over one in 10 (11%) women are doubtful they will ever achieve financial independence, the survey from Fidelity International found.
Nearly half (48%) of women cited the high cost of living as the biggest barrier to improving their finances. Low income levels and fears around job security were also factors.
A fifth (19%) of women are worried about their ability to support themselves or their family and less than a third (28%) are free from money worries.
Only around a third (32%) feel confident about reaching their financial goals and a similar proportion (31%) are expecting to live comfortably in retirement.
Many of those who do feel financially independent said they have enough income to cover their outgoings or are free from debts.
Having personal savings to cover unforeseen expenses and a long-term plan for retirement or a pension pot were also considered important to securing financial autonomy.
Maike Currie, investment director at Fidelity International said: “Female financial independence is fundamental. Having control over our finances allows us to adapt to changing circumstances, tackling challenges head on and seizing opportunities to shape the lives we want. Yet less than half of UK women feel financially independent.
“Low income levels, fears about job security and the compromise many women are forced to make between work and caring responsibilities are all named as barriers to achieving financial independence.
“We all have a central role to play in breaking down the barriers which are currently stacked against women and impact their financial wellbeing.”
She added: “The disparity between women’s income levels and the rising cost of living is one of the main challenges standing between them and financial independence.
“While this continues to weigh heavily on so many households – as UK inflation climbs and household bills soar – women’s finances are likely to bear the brunt of this burden.”
More than 1,000 women in the UK were surveyed, with surveys taking place in some other countries too.
Fidelity found women in the UK were more likely to feel financially secure than those in Germany (33%) and Japan (38%) and financial security was at similar levels in Singapore (46%). Those in China (69%) and Taiwan (72%) tended to report feeling more secure.