Women and investing – it’s time to move the needle
Tuesday 17th July saw MHP’s first female-focussed event – examining women and their attitudes to their finances.
While this topic has been keenly addressed in the media, looking at the gender pay gap, more recently the gender pensions gap and the differences in men’s and women’s spending habits, there have been few solutions offered as to how to really encourage women to better engage with their money.
We wanted to change that and so hosted a panel discussion, featuring Anne Boden from Starling Bank, Charlotte Oates from Moneybox, Jess Exton from ING and Indre Butkeviciute from Lily Advisory. With each panellist examining this issue from a different viewpoint – including looking at innate gender differences; the role of language used in the financial industry and the importance of technology in changing behaviour, we saw that while there isn’t simply one clear cut answer, there are many avenues to explore in order to improve women’s investment habits.
Financial education seemed to be the most important tool – both in regards to teaching those at school, college and beyond about how to make their money work for them, as well as educating the industry itself. For years, the investment industry has been dominated by men and so, unsurprisingly, investment advice and the language used has been tailored towards the male consumer. If we truly want to engage women, then we need to make the industry itself welcoming and accessible in the first place.
There is also a huge role for technology to play. Technological developments are shaping nearly all aspects of our lives and so tapping into this, to demonstrate how easy it can be to invest and to better manage your money is a key way to engage the next generation.
And finally, we need to stop making money such a taboo topic. Women don’t talk about their finances – how much they earn, spend or save and as such this topic is clouded in mystery and, often, confusion. In order to really get women involved in investing and their finances more generally, we need to open up the conversation. Starting these discussions may not be easy, but in the long term, they could help a whole generation of women to prosper.