Young women aged between 18 and 24 are almost twice as likely as men to fall into debt despair, according to Insolvency Service figures published this week.
These showed that around eight in every 10,000 women in that age group were forced into insolvency last year, compared with just four among young men. In the 25-34 age bracket, the women's rate was around 33, while for men it was around 26. By the age 35, however, the pattern is reversed, with men more likely to hit trouble financially.
The Insolvency Service said the gender gap can partly be explained by the introduction of debt-relief orders in 2009. These are aimed at people who have smaller amounts of debt but no realistic prospect of paying it off.
David Rodger, chief executive of the national charity Debt Advice Foundation said: "There will be complex reasons for this disparity but unfortunately it is still the case that income levels are lower for women. Whatever the reasons, it is extremely worrying that more and more women are finding themselves facing unmanageable debt."