According to UN Women - the UN branch dedicated to women equality around the world - the main difference between men and women is not - surprisingly- education, but the LACK OF CONFIDENCE in asking for what they deserve, including equalization of income and managing their savings. Women are, after all, a major power in the economy, in charge of 70% of household spending. A study made by McKinsey showed how gender parity would increase global annual GDP by 26% by 2025, compared to an actual scenario. However, only 20% of the women in the world have bank accounts – and in most countries in the Middle East, it is even forbidden. Although the female/ male ratio in education globally is 0.9, the average ratio for financial inclusion is 0.7.
On their trajectory towards having a say on the investment side, a typical woman of any income would choose a more conservative choice, more grounded, more understandable and straightforward than her male counterpart. Men tend to trade more and save less. Women tend to choose longer-term investments. They trust themselves less, they seek more help, although their average returns are very close to men.
According to Vanguard, who records retirement plans in the US, women have earned very similar returns to men in a five-year span, 9.7% compared to 10.1% for men.
The advent of technology is changing the pieces around and women are becoming more active. A Fidelity study in the US showed that 92% of women want to learn more about financial planning. More and more women are becoming centre stage in decision making and the transparency of information allows them to make better choices. The digitalization of the economy is reaching everywhere, even extremely poor countries which have access to technology through mobile devices, and women are getting their share of this access to information at every level of income.
Real estate crowdfunding platforms, for example, are allowing small investors around the world to diversify their portfolio without needing to commit a substantial amount of their capital and women tend to feel confident about these alternatives which are conservative, simple, long-term, diversified and give high returns without excessive risk. Because they are more digitalized than financially included, the percentage of women investing in real estate crowdfunding is expected to grow exponentially.
Empowering women on the investment side implies granting the right to understand their choices, and backing their decisions with the appropriate technological tools which provide straightforward information on where and how to invest. Women should become more confident and continue making smart choices, as they have already been doing.
Sofia Gancedo is COO a Co-Founder at Bricksave, the largest real estate crowdfunding platform in Latin America. In 2016 she won the Women in Tech Award granted by Web Summit, the leading startup global organization. She holds a Masters Degree in Economics and a Bachelor Degree in Business from Universidad de San Andres.
McKinsey Report: the Power of Parity (2015)
Un Women Report 2016
Male Investors vs Female Investors: how do they compare? WSJ
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