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We make up half the population and yet women are woefully underrepresented in investing. This needs to change, not just for female progression within the industry, but also for the health of the investment industry itself. Master Investor would like you to help us do our part to drive this change.
Earlier this year, I attended the UK Business Angel Association’s (UKBAA) Women in Angel Investing Forum, an event focused on understanding the barriers women may experience in investing and identifying the opportunities for breaking down these barriers.
UKBAA CEO Jenny Tooth hosted the event at Home House in London. One of the UKBAA’s missions with Jenny at the helm is to break down some of the barriers experienced by women and to help level the playing field in the investment sector so that women have the opportunity to invest as much as their male counterparts.
Jenny presented some of the UKBAA’s research with Women Business Angels for Europe’s Entrepreneurs. You can read the full report here, but I wanted to highlight some of the key perceived barriers and put a call out to any of our female readers or attendees at our annual event to explore how we as an organisation can help encourage and empower female investors.
Barriers to change
The key barriers mentioned at the event included risk and how women feel like they may be viewed negatively or seen as selfish for taking risks which could impact their family. This ties in with another barrier around life stage and commitments, which may again impact a woman’s decision to invest.
Another notable reason that came up was lack of awareness of tax relief associated with investing and also the belief that investing was only for the super wealthy and perhaps not something women can do with a lower or part-time salary.
We then discussed why there are so few female investors and came to the conclusion that it’s not so much that there are so few but more that they are less visible than their male counterparts in a male dominated space. This has meant that media coverage has focused largely on successful male investors and perpetuated a lack of female role models – as one lady concisely put it, “you can’t be what you can’t see”. I think, in this sense, this rings very true and women really do need to see some strong female role models in this space in order to boost their confidence to try out investing.
One thing that came across on the day was some of the myths surrounding investment, such as that you need a finance background or need to be super wealthy to invest. Of course, neither of these preconceptions are true, but both are thoughts I encountered when I first started working in this space.
Everyone has to start somewhere
Fast forward and with a bit of research and support from people around me, I am now investing – I don’t have a finance background (my maths is shocking!) and I’m also definitely not super wealthy! There seems to be an invisible pressure or expectation to be the real deal from the outset and yet we all know that everyone has to learn – even the most successful investors out there had to start somewhere.
One of the calls-to-action from the day was to support UKBAA’s work in this area by acting as an ambassador for Women Angel Investing. This was a call not only to active female investors but for those women who may have an interest in angel investing but aren’t sure how to take the first step.
This came at a time when I’d been reviewing our reader survey results and I’d noticed a couple of comments from female readers saying that they would like more female focused content. So, as my way of supporting the UKBAA’s initiative and recognising that as an educational resource for investors we need to cater for both males and females, I wanted to start the ball rolling. I have some ideas of what could be useful to our female audience, but it would be helpful to have real feedback that we can act on.
Get in touch!
So, I’m asking you, as a female reader: what do you want from us to help educate and empower you in your investing activities? Do you want a female investor diary? Interviews with female investor role models? Or maybe female-centric topics like funding your maternity leave through investing or how to invest for your children’s future?
If you are reading this and think you would like to see us sharing more female focused content, please do get in touch with any suggestions or just to let us know you’d find it useful.
If you are a man reading this, please feel free to share your ideas and support too and if possible pass this on to any women you know.
If anyone has any suggestions, please comment below or send me an email directly at .