We’ve been campaigning to #MakeMoneyEqual. We started by showing how women and men are spoken to differently about money. Now we’re campaigning to make sure women are better represented in images used by media and advertisers.

Collage of campaign images

We’ve worked with researchers at Brunel University who have analysed over 600 photographs used for articles about money and finance, We found that men and women were depicted very differently. Men were shown as being in control and making financial decisions, whilst women were shown clutching piggy banks and counting pennies. We’ve teamed up with Lensi Photography to create a new library of 100 photographs that better represents women and money. They’re free to download.

Summary report

Download all images

The initial research

By playing this video you agree to YouTube's use of cookies. This use may include analytics, personalisation and ads.

When we started our #MakeMoneyEqual campaign in 2018 our aim was to remove negative gender stereotypes from public conversation around money and personal finances. So we commissioned a linguistics study from semiotics and cultural value agency The Answer, which assessed 300 articles from a mix of outlets aimed at men and women. Using discourse analysis, they found that the media split women and men by language when discussing money. 65% of articles defined women as excessive spenders and 70% of articles aimed at men defined making money as a masculine ideal.

Read the full research

The stats

From our assessment of 300 articles from a mix of outlets aimed at men and women, we found out that:

65% of articles define women as excessive spenders, advising them to limit shopping ‘splurges’, save small sums or depend on financial support.
90% of female-targeted articles focus on small ways to save money, like hobbies, cutting back on outgoings or seeking out vouchers and bargains.
71% of money articles in women’s magazines encourage women to seek out vouchers, discounts, bargains and coupons to save money.
70% of articles aimed at men emphasise that making money is a masculine ideal, and that monetary success and financial literacy are essential to enhancing personal status.
50% of the articles aimed at men also use fear propositions to trigger actions like investing or saving, relying on masculine stereotypes and codes of combat, strength, power and competition.
60% of financial articles in male magazines tend to speak to men as if they’re savvy financiers, offering advice on the best tech to use to enhance their investments.

Our Manifesto to Make Money Equal

  • Financial inequality doesn’t end at the wage gap.

  • It’s also present in the way the media visualises men and women in relation to money.

  • Legislation is important – but so is representation. The media shows women as if they are splurgers and men as if they’re financiers.

  • Men are shown as being in control and making financial decisions. Women with piggy banks, counting up their spending money.

  • We’re being separated into spenders and earners. The frivolous and the empowered.

  • Something has to change.


Money is an issue for a lot of people – but women encounter far more systemic obstacles when it comes to their finances. Gender inequality reaches far beyond low salaries and boardroom tokenism; it starts with the way we’re taught. It starts with the way we’re spoken to.” Anne Boden@AnneBoden CEO & Founder

Let’s talk about money in the same way to everyone.

make money equal

Usage terms:

  • Starling Bank and Lensi Photography must be credited whenever the images are used
  • The license is non-exclusive, Starling Bank and Lensi Photography reserve the right to further develop the imagery in future
  • All imagery is available for free to download and use by the public, media and advertisers
  • The imagery is not to be used anywhere that may cause offence
  • Starling Bank and Lensi Photography reserve the right for imagery to be removed from use at the discretion of either company
  • Please note images including model 3 (grey hair) and model 8 (yellow shirt) are only licensed for free use until May 2023

Apply for a Starling bank account today and enjoy app-based banking at its best.

Start your application