Who runs the world (and the numbers)? Girls.
08 March 2024Last Updated:08 March 2024
Woman leaping for joy

For decades, the world of investing has been portrayed in pop culture as an exclusive boys’ club, filled with characters as likely to discuss their cufflink collections as they would be their investment strategies. While these portrayals might have reflected the truth then, they certainly don’t paint the whole picture today. Women are not only entering the investment landscape in droves, but they are also actively reshaping it with their unique perspectives and approaches. This International Women’s Day, we celebrate their achievements and explore how women are leading the charge towards a more inclusive, equitable and successful future for investing.

Glass ceiling? Pass her a hard hat 🔨

Historically, women faced countless obstacles in the investment world. From a lack of access to education and mentorship to societal biases against their perceived financial capabilities, women’s participation remained limited. However, data tells a compelling story of progress. A study by Credit Suisse Research Institute found that companies with a higher representation of women on their boards outperformed those with lower representation across various financial metrics. This suggests that diversity of thought and experience can lead to better decision-making and improved financial outcomes.

The woman investor is here, and she’s not alone 👩🏼‍💼👩🏽‍💻🧕🏼

The number of women entering the investment arena is steadily on the up. A 2023 report by Fidelity Investments showed that more than 60% of women now invest outside of their retirement accounts, compared to just 44% in 2018. This surge in participation is driven by several factors, including:

Increased financial literacy: More women are seeking knowledge and understanding about investing, thanks to easier access to educational resources and online communities.
Growing confidence: Women are overcoming societal biases and taking ownership of their financial future.
Technological advancements: Investment platforms (like Shyft) are making investing more accessible and user-friendly, attracting new investors regardless of gender.
Women-to-women support: When women see other women crushing it on the stock market, it’s like a giant neon sign saying, “Hey, sis, you can do this too!” Holding the door open for others through mentorship and knowledge-sharing creates a powerful network that fuels inclusivity and advancement.

Perspectives carry power 🔍

Beyond their sheer numbers, women are bringing fresh perspectives to the investment landscape. Studies suggest that women tend to favour the long game, prioritise sustainable investing, and exhibit lower risk tolerance. This diversity of thought can lead to a more balanced and holistic approach to investing, benefiting both individual investors and the industry.

Leading by example 🦸🏽‍♀️

Women are not just entering the investment world; they are rising to leadership positions in a significant way. In January 2023, Fortune reported that women CEOs run more than 10% of the Fortune 500 companies for the first time in history. From CFOs to portfolio managers, financial advisors and angel investors, their presence at the helm is influencing investment decisions and shaping industry practices.

Recently, Forbes interviewed AMD’s new CEO, who led the charge to diversify their product and customer portfolios, ultimately resulting in them supplying the chips used in Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation gaming consoles. As the driver behind one of the greatest recent turnarounds in the technology sector, her leadership boosted AMD’s stock almost 30-fold in just under a decade.

Trailblazing women like these serve as valuable role models, inspiring future generations to pursue careers in finance.

Looking forward 💫

The future of investing is undeniably brighter and more inclusive due to the invaluable contributions of women. As their participation continues to grow, we can expect to see positive changes in the industry, such as:

Increased focus on sustainability and ethical investing (ESG): As women tend to prioritise these factors, their influence will likely lead to a greater focus on responsible investment practices.
Improved financial literacy and accessibility: With more women entering the industry, a greater emphasis should be placed on educating and empowering individuals, regardless of gender, to make informed investment decisions.
A more collaborative and diverse investment community: As women bring their unique skills and perspectives to the table, collaboration and exchange of ideas will likely flourish, fostering a more vibrant and successful industry.

International Women’s Day is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable achievements of women in all sectors, including finance. Together, let’s celebrate the power of diversity and continue to break down barriers in the investment world, paving the way for a more inclusive and prosperous future for all.

Shyft operates under the licence of The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited, an authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP number 11287).