In the past, women did not generally invest as much compared to men. A potential motive of the underrepresentation of women in finance, mainly when it comes to investing, could be linked to men dominating the finance industry early on. However, women have entered the playing field, and it is no longer a “male-dominated game.”
The Past, Present, + Future of Women in Investing
With the expansion of women’s financial rights throughout the 20th century, women are increasingly present in investing. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, female financiers pushed societal norms to include women in financial decisions. Today, women are a powerful force in finance.
When Did Women Start Investing?
200 years ago, American women were not allowed to vote, own property, or invest. In order to break into the bustling stock exchange, women paid commissions to men to invest on their behalf. 40 years before they had the right to vote, women in America were beginning to enter the investing market. Some female pioneers opened women-only brokerages.
Early female investors in the late 19th and early 20th century were constantly berated by critics who believed women were too emotionally unstable to weather the ups and downs of the market. Pushing societal narratives around women and money was (and still is) not easy. Prominent women in finance faced extreme backlash; financier Hetty Green was often persecuted by the press and nicknamed the “Witch of Wall Street.”
It wasn’t until 50 years after Green’s death that, in 1967, Muriel Siebert became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Women’s financial rights expanded throughout the 1970s. In 1974, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act granted women the right to open a bank account or get a credit card in their own name without the permission of their husbands.
How Are Women Changing the Game of Investing?
Today, American women control more than $10 trillion, or about a third of total U.S. household financial assets. With that number expected to rise over the next decade, female investors are not a niche market but underserved clients.
Young women are more knowledgeable about personal finance than the generations before them and invest differently than men their same age. Women are more likely to pursue socially-conscious impact investing.
Women have been at the forefront of ESG – environmental, social, and governance – investing, pushing for investment options that align with their values. With more young women entering the world of investment, impact investing is likely to continue to expand.
What Does the Future Hold for Women and Investing?
The past and present of women in investing are largely white. While the gender gap in investing is changing, it is necessary to ensure all women are represented in personal finance. The future for women in investing needs to be intersectional and inclusive.
The future of investing must include building wealth for women in historically-divested communities. A few high-profile female investors do not change the reality that over half of the 37 million Americans living in poverty today are women. In every ethnic and racial group, women are more likely to live in poverty than men.
The future of investing for women offers us an opportunity for a redistribution of wealth for the benefit of all women.
How Do women See a Better Return than Men with their Investments?
Women bring so many strengths to their investing accounts. Unlike men, women are more conservative in taking investment risks. According to a BlackRock Inc survey, more than half of women (globally) say they are not willing to take any money risks compared to men (33%) ready to “play the market.” This goes to show that women are more likely to hold on to their stocks in a company and build their investment stock through time, causing long-term investment than men who tend to take the riskier route of selling and buying stocks by “measuring the right time.” It comes as no surprise when women earn 12% higher returns than men when it comes to investing!
How Are Women Getting More Involved in their Finances: Investing?
Based on Rich Thinking global interviews, over three-quarters of women prefer to invest in stocks and funds that reflect their core values. Study after study shows that 70-79% of women showcase more interest in impact investing than men (~28-62%). Thus, showcasing that women are more empowered to casually invest and diversify their investment portfolio with various stocks that they are passionate about.
Like mentioned earlier, historically, finance was considered a male-dominated industry. Now, there are programs like Girls Who Invest, a nonprofit organization that empowers undergraduate college students to explore finance. Their 10-week enriched program provides tools & resources for women to learn more about careers such as portfolio management and executive leadership in the asset management industry. Programs like this encourage and motivate women from early on in college to think about a variety of finance career paths.
Social media communities. Many social media groups provide resources and communication about anything involving the investing world, including portfolio tracking and performance. Communities like Moneypenny, open doors to women who want to start investing but don’t necessarily know how to start.
Investing for Women: Make an Impact
Women have been able to make an impact in their finances through investing and creating an indent in the gender gap of the finance industry. Gender equality in the finance industry is immensely lower than in other fields like medicine or law. Here is how you take initiative to help break through gender inequality barriers. Impact investing. How? With Invested Interests, your investment is carefully crafted to meet your values and goals. If one of your values is to invest in human rights & diversity, support companies who promote fair and equal working conditions. Companies like Accenture, Fisher & Paykel, and other companies we have partnered with. Companies that yearn for the day in which women have equal rights.
With no investment minimum, Invested Interests believes that building wealth through strategic and ethical investing should be an opportunity for all people. To learn more about our approach to impactful investing, reach out to us today at and get a team of socially-conscious investment experts on your side.