April 22, 2024
Finance

Meet the women in finance who are bridging the gender pay gap


If one of the estimated 385,000 babies born today is lucky enough to live as long as the oldest recorded person to have walked this earth – the ripe old age of 116 – the disappointing likelihood is they still wouldn’t live to see men and women on an equal footing in terms of economic participation.

In fact, the World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2023’ predicts it will take 169 years to achieve this critical milestone, as it revealed that change is simply not happening fast enough.

Although a depressing outlook, it’s not entirely downbeat. With a growing number of women taking a keener interest in their finances and seeing the immense potential of the world of investing, which is a trend stoked in part by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of female investors has soared.

Financial markets data on a computer and phone screen

“By becoming savvy investors, women can secure their financial independence, break through societal constraints and contribute to a more inclusive and equal economic landscape.”

– Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen

The resulting numbers are a great deal more promising. The Boston Consulting Group expects women’s wealth to grow US$5 trillion globally every year, while a McKinsey study predicted that the assets of European women may grow at 8.1 percent compound annual growth rate compared to the 2.7 percent estimated for men through 2030.

But the deterrents remain plentiful. Data from robo-platform Wealthify found that three-in-four women, compared to 58 percent of men, are discouraged from building their future wealth in what can be a highly lucrative arena due to nervousness and a lack of confidence.

Helping to overcome these obstacles is a new generation of trailblazers, who aim to promote economic empowerment among other women by helping them get ahead in the world of investing, an area that has traditionally been male dominated, by dismantling the obstacles that have long held them back.

We meet three women determined to break through these barriers, helping women find the courage to take the financial plunge.

Dominique Broadway

“Oftentimes, women are intimidated by the markets and all of the lingo, which can often be pretty confusing,” says Broadway, who is a personal finance expert, Founder of educational platform Finances Demystified and the author of The Wealth Decision.

“As women we also tend to wait for the ‘perfect’ time to do something or begin investing and that can also hold us back. This is why I am so motivated to help demystify the world of investing and show that it is not as complicated as it may seem.”

Broadway’s own investment journey began when she was just 16 years old. “I realized early on that I did not want to exchange hours for dollars my whole life,” she reflects.

“I was also really interested to learn how wealthy people made money and grew their money. This sparked me to begin teaching myself the basics of investments.”

Women in finance closing a deal

“I want women to have more flexibility and have the power to create their own income and wealth.”

– Dominique Broadway

Broadway is highly focused on helping women discover the freedom that investing can provide, while also mastering what can often be a tricky balancing act.

“I want women to have more flexibility and have the power to create their own income and wealth,” she says. “Investing can create additional wealth and streams of income, which can be very beneficial for women as they may be seeing more time, freedom and flexibility with their families.”

Now she is passing on her knowledge not only to women around the globe, but also to her own children. It is a source of great pride for her that she has been able to start her children off with investing a such an early age.

Broadway’s top words of advice?

“Pick a few companies that you utilize or admire, select a dollar amount and just start investing. There is no time better than the present,” she says.

Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen

Since Hartvigsen co-founded Female Invest with Emma Bitz and Camilla Clotta Falkenberg in 2017, the trio has scaled the female-focused investment education platform across more than 100 countries, helping hundreds of thousands of women take charge of their finances.

“Witnessing countless women gain confidence, take control of their financial futures and build wealth through our programs and resources has been incredibly rewarding,” she says.

It was a path she decided to follow when she started investing herself and found the process both complex and overwhelming.

“As a woman, I often felt isolated in this male-dominated industry,” she recalls. “This personal struggle ignited a passion to break down the barriers and demystify the world of finance for women globally.”

Counting women in

With the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality, being achieved by 2030 fast slipping out of reach, International Women’s Day 2024 is trying to speed up the pace of change, with this year’s 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women following the theme ‘Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment’.

“Economic empowerment is about removing barriers to financial inclusion and increasing participation, reshaping systems, and improving financial literacy and increased access to capital for all women,” said Simone Clarke, the CEO of UN Women Australia.

“We must ensure women and girls are given equal opportunity to build their capabilities and strengthen their capacity to learn, earn and lead.”

Hartvigsen highlights the factors contributing to the investment gender gap as societal norms, lack of representation and a dearth of educational resources tailored for women.

“Addressing these barriers involves dismantling stereotypes, fostering mentorship and providing accessible, women-centric financial education,” she explains.

She sees investing as a powerful tool for financial empowerment, giving women a unique opportunity to bridge the gender wealth gap.

“By becoming savvy investors, women can secure their financial independence, break through societal constraints and contribute to a more inclusive and equal economic landscape,” she says.

Hartvigsen’s top words of advice?

“Embrace education and community. Knowledge is power, and being part of a supportive community can provide the encouragement and guidance needed to navigate the complexities of finance,” she points out. “Start small, be patient and remember that every step forward is a triumph. Together, we can redefine the landscape of investing for women around the world.”

Simran Kaur

A millionaire by the age of 26, Kaur has already built a vast community of women around the world through her podcast Girls That Invest, which she launched with friend Sonya Gupthan during lockdown in March 2020, and which she followed up with the publication of a book by the same name in 2022.

“Witnessing the transformation of our listeners and followers from being hesitant about investing to confidently making their first investments and growing their portfolios is incredibly rewarding,” she says.

“This journey has not only been about financial gains but also about fostering a supportive space where women can learn, share and grow together.”

Women in finance discuss around a computer

“Knowing the challenges women face in the financial world, including gender pay gaps and longer life spans, it’s crucial for us to maximize our financial resources.”

– Simran Kaur

It’s a mission Kaur took on having recognized a gap in financial literacy particularly among women, as well as a lack of representation and resources tailored to women.

“This realization motivated me to embark on my investment journey, not just for personal growth but to empower other women by sharing knowledge and breaking down barriers in the world of investing,” she reveals.

“By investing, women can take control of their financial futures, grow their wealth and secure their livelihoods.”

Other factors that hold women back, in Kaur’s view, range from lack of tailored financial education options, a lower tolerance for risk due to societal conditioning, along with intimidating investment jargon.

“Additionally, the historical exclusion of women from financial discussions and industries creates a psychological barrier to entry,” she adds.

“Knowing the challenges women face in the financial world, including gender pay gaps and longer life spans, it’s crucial for us to maximize our financial resources.

“Helping other women get ahead in investments means paving the way for more equitable financial futures for all of us.”

Kaur’s top words of advice?

“Start with education. Equip yourself with knowledge about the basics of investing, understand different types of investment vehicles, and learn how to assess risks and opportunities,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to start small; the most important step is to begin. Seek out communities and resources that resonate with you and remember, investing is a journey. Your confidence and portfolio will grow with time and experience.”



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