Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, partner and co-founder of Female Invest, explores the unaddressed gender disparity in finance, investments and savings, and explains how women can take the simple step of learning to invest in order to make a difference.
All over the world, women are falling further and further behind when it comes to finance. They are earning less, saving less and – with what money they have – are investing less. Most of the reasons for this are unfortunately systemic and deep rooted within society, meaning they are incredibly difficult to alter, but the most effective avenue for change is for women to take control of their own finances and learn how to manage their money.
The financial gender gap
You do not have to look far to see evidence of the financial gender gap. Approximately 70% of stocks are owned by male investors and 1 in 5 British women admit to having never held stocks. Furthermore, female workers retire with around £70,000 less in their pensions than men (Nest survey – October 2020).
Historically, the stock market has increased 8-10% per year; by not investing, women are missing out on this opportunity to not just have extra money to make purchases, but also to have the freedom, independence and ability to live life on their own terms, rather than having their bank accounts dictate their actions. According to analysis from Warwick Business School, women who do take the plunge outperform men when it comes to investment returns!
Unfortunately, the financial industry is failing women with regards to gender equality. Companies must acknowledge and address the (un)conscious bias in recruitment and salary processes. The lack of female investors and financiers is due to lack of resources, role models and confidence, not a lack of skills or interest.
What women can do
We need to reinvent the paradigm of how women experience financial advice. When it comes to money-saving insights, the internet is filled with sites which advise young women on how to save money on beauty, clothes, and going out. Yet, when it comes to making money, there is almost nothing on helping women make substantial investments.
There is a clear need for a company run by women, for women, that approaches finance in a fun and authentic way. Female Invest is inspired by my own experiences, and similar experiences from my co-founders Emma Due-Bitz and Camilla Falkenberg, of attending personal finance educational events where women were largely absent, and our subsequent discovery of the unaddressed gender disparity in finance, investments and savings
Female Invest is an education platform and community which, through approachable subscription-based e-learning, empowers women by increasing their understanding of personal finance and investing. We aim to close the financial gender gap by providing a space in which women can acquire the skills necessary to control their own capital and obtain financial independence. We have members across 60+ countries and our British membership grew significantly during 2020, with more than 10% of the platform’s users based in the UK.
With a subscription, members gain access to an online universe of content, courses, webinars, video tutorials, articles and easy-explainers, all designed to empower women to take control of their finances.
We intend to achieve more than just financial education. A by-product of the platform should be to contribute to the demystification of the world of investments. The financial industry has traditionally been dominated by men and this is reflected in every aspect of it: communication style, corporate culture, and product offerings. While this is not done intentionally to exclude women, it effectively does exactly that.
We recently launched our global #BeatTheGap campaign to raise awareness of the issue. More than 60 women from 6 different continents, acting as ambassadors for the campaign, joined forces in support of financial gender equality.
Female Invest believes that with every woman who invests, society can move one step closer to beating the financial gender gap, and that everyone can learn how to invest their money, if they start by investing some time into finding out the best path for themselves.