Standing its ground in New York City’s Financial District, an aggressive, energetic figure draws a crowd. Bronze nostrils flared, horns poised to gore, and tail cracked like a whip, the ‘Charging Bull’ sculpture is a symbol of power and volatility. It’s the stock market personified. But beyond the horns and hooves, there’s one more key detail that’s integral to the metaphor: an over-polished pair of bronze bovine balls. The stock market, according to this image, is for the boys.
Investing in stocks and shares should be as unisex as brushing your teeth or going to college. Gender has nothing to do with who can do it or how well they can do it. And yet that’s the way many people perceive investing: one for the boys.
This suit-and-tie sentiment is echoed in the language and imagery that many investment platforms and banks still use, consciously or otherwise. It’s echoed in their six-figure sponsorship deals for male-only sports tournaments. And it’s echoed by the audience of the event we held this morning – a discussion and rallying call to better serve women investors – where less than a quarter of bums on seats were male. As Holly recounted to the audience, one of the men who didn’t attend said women’s investments “just feel a bit niche”. Niche? Half the world’s population is a niche? Crikey…
Female investors aren’t a niche by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re certainly an underserved chunk of the market.
It’s madness. Especially when you consider that the UK investment market is missing out on about £115 billion because of it. That’s how much more would be on the table if the same number of women invested the same amount as men. So clearly balance would be better for everyone involved. More financial independence for women. More financial fuel for businesses.
The way we see it, there are four main things the investment industry needs to do to become more welcoming to women. (Is there anything you’d add? Let us know)
We’ve come to these conclusions because that’s what women are actually asking for. They are interested, they’re just not confident. And unless the industry starts communicating with these asks in mind, nothing will get balanced and nothing will get better. So we’re going to help…
When we asked women what would encourage them to start investing, the most popular response was ‘if they speak in simple English’ – far more popular than the promise of 15% annual returns. That’s pretty shocking, and goes to show why an end to jargon and bull**** is so important.
Let’s make a start by calling out the worst offenders: those tricky, technical money words you can’t make heads nor tails of.
We’re curious to find out what you’ve come up against. And to figure out how we can help both you to brush up on the lingo and the industry to tear down the barriers. See you on social.
'Women are not a niche' was an event hosted by Boring Money, The Times
and The Times on Sunday, and Publicis Sapient on 7th March 2019.
The panel included Holly Mackay, Catherine Newman and Bradley Gamage.
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What have other people been doing? Learn from their experiences.
If you're one of the thousands of UK ladies who are old enough to 'know better' but not old enough to have figured it all out yet, we've got the answers you're looking for. And there's no jargon in sight!