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Reducing gender inequality by training financial services advisors

November 22, 2023 | Julie Robert

Update : November 24, 2023

Professor Hélène Belleau holds a new research and training chair, in partnership with the Chambre de la sécurité financière.

The Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) and the Chambre de la sécurité financière (CSF) have partnered to create the Chaire argent, inégalités et société. The work of this new research and training body will focus on the social aspects of financial management, aiming, among other things, to identify resulting inequalities and to propose solutions that will help reduce them.

“The creation of this Chair is excellent news for Quebec society. The aim is to reduce financial inequalities, particularly between women and men who are in or out of a relationship, and to have a concrete impact on the population. I believe that financial services advisors can play an extremely important role in this respect.”

Professor Hélène Belleau, holder of the Chaire Argent, inégalités et société

The sociologist and researcher, a specialist in family, couples and the social use of money, had already highlighted these income disparities between men and women across the regions of Québec in her recent research.

“Financial services are often designed for the individual, not the couple. Yet in Québec, which prides itself on being the world champion of common-law unions, only 26% of de facto spouses manage their finances together over the long term, and 37% if we include married couples. Women often get left out of the picture, and find themselves more prone to financial inequality,” explains Hélène Belleau, a researcher based at the INRS Centre Urbanisation Culture Société in Montréal.

Hélène Belleau

Three research topics have been identified to date:

  • Specific financial stakes and challenges faced by Quebecers in complex family situations;
  • Economic dynamics of immigrants: equity, diversity, and inclusion in personal financial management;
  • Financial perceptions and practices based on the Québec region and gender.

Thanks to the training courses and tools developed by the Chair, the results of the research work will be of direct use to the professionals supervised by the Chamber who advise the Québec public, particularly on retirement and financial planning.

The subjects studied will be selected by a strategic orientation committee on their potential to provide meaningful data for Québec society.

Lancement de la Chaire

“We are very proud to collaborate with the INRS and Professor Hélène Belleau, who will be the chairholder. This is a long-term investment for the CSF that will enable us to provide our advisors with the tools and training necessary to support them in their relationships with clients. These resources will help them guide clients through the various aspects of their financial security and savings. Thus, the CSF will further ensure public protection by contributing to greater financial equality and addressing various social aspects that may hinder it,” said Marie Elaine Farley, President and CEO of the CSF.

“This new Chair consolidates the Centre’s expertise in family and financial research. It will contribute to improving the financial literacy of society. Hélène Belleau’s cutting-edge teaching expertise is in line with our mission to contribute to Quebec’s economic, cultural and social development.”

Marie-Soleil Cloutier, Director of the Centre Urbanisation Culture Société

This partnership will not only benefit the university research community by training the next generation of researchers, but will also enable both organizations to raise public awareness of social inequalities.