Closing the investing gender gap
In early 2021, we conducted research to better understand what the Aussie investing landscape looks like, who’s currently investing, and how we can help empower and educate those who are looking to begin their investing journey.
Through the survey, we found that:
60% of participants who owned shares were men (vs 40% women)
22% of women who participated said they felt confident investing in shares (vs 42% of men)
32% of women who participated agreed with the statement “I understand how investing works” (vs 54% of men)
33% of women who participated were planning on investing in the next 5 years (vs 47% of men)
36% of women participants had superannuation compared to 46% for men.
In this post, we’re going to dig a little deeper into these results, to understand why the investment gender gap still exists when women investors tend to outperform their male counterparts.
Why the gap still exists
We think it’s really important to set yourself up to make the most of the money you get—regardless of your gender. For women especially, there are a few factors to consider when evaluating the role investing can play in your life.
Women tend to earn less money
Sad, but true. There are all kinds of reasons for this—for example, women-dominated professions tend to pay less than male-dominated professions, women tend to take more time off work (more on that later), and women continue to be under-represented in high-earning, top leadership roles.
This has a real impact! If you make less money, then you have less income to draw from for your savings. Investing gives you the possibility to generate higher returns than you could with a low-interest saving account. And while investing doesn’t guarantee better returns (you could always lose the money you started with), it’s an alternative that might put you in a better place by the end of your career.
Women are more likely to take time off their careers
Studies show that women are still more likely to be the primary person responsible for childcare and housework in a household than men. While this is starting to shift in the other direction, taking a break from work to look after the kids can have a big impact on the amount you earn throughout your career.
You can’t save when you’re making $0 a year, and your pay might not progress when you’re not working. But you can try to offset this by investing as you go—so that even if you’re not working, your money gets a chance to work for you!
Women live longer
On one hand, being alive is great! But here’s the downside—your savings need to last longer. Not only do men earn more, and tend to invest in shares more (24% of the men surveyed owned shares, vs 15% of women), they also don’t need to make their money last as long, because they’re more likely to check out at a younger age than women.
Despite what the survey results suggest, we think the future of investing can be different.
Investing is now easier and more accessible than ever. Through the Sharesies platform, you can invest from as little as 1¢, choose from a range of investment options across multiple countries, and learn as you go!
We also have to acknowledge that while this post focuses on some statistical differences between men and women, there are other factors that can limit access to investing for gender-diverse people. And even within a group that identifies as women—the factors mentioned above can be disproportionately impacted by things like someone’s race, sexual orientation, and ability.
With investing becoming more accessible, we hope to see more Aussies start to invest and feel confident with their money. We hope to do this survey again in the future and see those national numbers shift towards a more equal playing field. After all, investing is for everyone—the most important part is getting started.
Ok, now for the legal bit
Investing involves risk. You aren’t guaranteed to make money, and you might lose the money you start with. We don’t provide personalised advice or recommendations. Any information we provide is general only and current at the time written. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice when considering whether an investment is appropriate for your objectives, financial situation or needs.