An increasing number of women are becoming bankrupt, crippled by credit card debts and soaring household bills.
The proportion of women bankrupts has risen from 42 per cent to 44 per cent over the past year, according to accountants Wilkins Kennedy. Since 2002, the figure has risen from 32 per cent to 42 per cent.
Keith Stevens, insolvency partner at the firm, said if the trend continues at the current rate, half of all the people going through the bankruptcy process will be women by the end of the decade.
"It's difficult to see the situation getting any better because so many people are already teetering on the brink of the precipice," he said.
"A modest rise in interest rates or a fall in income could be enough to tip them over the edge."
He said the root of the problem is that although women's financial independence has grown, their salaries have failed to increase at the same rate.
"Young women are increasingly choosing the WAGs lifestyle, but it can't be sustained indefinitely," Mr Stevens added.
Research by Halifax shows the proportion of new mortgages taken out by single women has more than doubled in the past 20 years and now accounts for 23 per cent of the total market. "Women are taking on a much greater debt burden than they used to but their income still lags behind," Mr Stevens said.
About 1,200 bankrupts were surveyed across England and Wales.