It’s International Women’s Day (IWD) today, an event which has become a wonderful PR and marketing opportunity for every type of brand you can name.
I know this because, as a journalist, I’ve had a plethora of press releases in the last week from brands desperately trying to use it as a reason to get into the media.
It may be because I’m subject to inbox-flooding reams of press releases on all manner of special “days” throughout the year that the gloss has come off all of this for me. I feel like I reached the point of peak-National-Day-Of some years ago.
This is because every day now is a special “day” or “week”, and far more special than just talking about women. There’s National Prune Awareness Week, Kiss a Ginger Day (12 January in case you were wondering), National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day and National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day among many, many others to rival the “excitement” of IWD.
So I ask myself, do we really need a whole day where we are encouraged to be like Meghan Markle and to dig deep into our own psyches to root out an unconscious bias that we may or may not possess (because essentially that is the message for this year’s event)?
I’m not sure that we do. But there are a lot of issues that affect women all over the world that could do with much more than a day to consider them. Which is why I’m going to have a go here.
For a start, I’m going to ask: if Warren Buffett invests like a girl, how come women still make up the bulk of the poor people in this country and in the world?
How come there is still a huge gender pay gap when it comes to pensions in this country?
And how come it’s still true that women save, while men invest?
There’s an irony that I always refer to when speaking to groups of women about managing and investing their money.
Although comparatively few women in the UK (and elsewhere) consciously invest their money, outside of having a pension, for years, study after study has found that, when they have equal investing knowledge, women beat men at investing every single time.
Just to pick out a couple of recent ones, for example:
- Fidelity Investments last year found that women’s “buy and hold” investing philosophy meant that they generally outperform men by 0.4%.
- Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley analysed equities investments of men and women from over 35,000 households from 1991 to 1997 and found that women outperformed men by 0.94%.
- Warwick Business School surveyed 2,456 investors between April 2012 and July 2016 and found the women outperformed the men in the study by about 1.2% per year.
I could mention more.
But still (and I’m quoting from a few of the desperately IWD-connected press releases I’ve received here):
- Women in the UK have almost 30% less in pension savings in their pension pot compared to men – a trend that is seen across all regions of the UK (according to Profile Pensions).
- Female fund managers are still vastly outnumbered by male fund managers and the numbers are falling. In 2021, the percentage of female UK fund managers has fallen over the past 20 years from 14% in the year 2000 to just 11.2% today (FundCalibre).
- More than a quarter (27%) of women are relying solely on the state pension to fund their retirement; this is almost twice the number of men (15%) (Barnett Waddingham).
- The gender investment gap stands at a whopping £65,000 per average woman (AJ Bell).
On the positive side, though, women are embracing new technology and those who invest are 47% more likely to use investing platforms founded after 2010 (according to Finder.com) and, although women hold many more cash ISAs than stocks and shares ones (while men are more likely to invest in stocks and shares ISAs), in 2021, according to Hargreaves Lansdown, women were increasingly likely to shift their money from cash to equities ISAs.
So, there is movement in the right direction. There is more interest among women for dipping their toes into the investing waters and certainly there are more investing courses for women to take, more women-friendly investing sites and newsletters and more investment companies actively courting women… and their money.
The gender gap will start to close, it already is beginning to do so, but I’d like to take our focus away from trying to catch up with men all the time. Women actually do know what they’re doing… when they know what they’re doing… all we need is more of us doing it.
Men, on the other hand, have a bit of catching up to do. Given that women keep beating men with their investments, I think it’s time we invited men to close their gap with us.
Warren Buffett has done it. Other men can do it too. All they need to do is be a bit more woman. Come on guys. Be more woman!
Founder of MoneyMagpie.com, which is full of information on making, saving and investing money. Join her free investing newsletter here.
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