At AllBright, we’re passionate about issues that impact women. We’ve written before about the gender pay gap, the ethnicity pay gap and the women representation gap. At a time when a mere 28% of women feel confident about investing some of their money, according to new research from BNY Mellon Investment Management, we’re also seeing a gender investment gap – in which women are once again losing out.
Following International Day Of The Girl, AllBright hosted an impactful event, Investing In Her Future, for our partner BNY Mellon Investment Management, with the goal of bolstering women’s financial wellness and independence by starting an informed and healthy conversation about money from a young age.
We spoke to expert panelists Olamide Majekodunmi, Iona Bain, Kat Khoury and Anne-Marie McConnon to learn more.
Olamide Majekodunmi – Founder and Creator of All Things Money
After teaching herself how to invest in the stock market, Ola built her finance platform All Things Money, a digital resource to help young adults navigate their way towards financial independence. “Learning how to invest myself, as well as teaching my friends how to get involved quickly opened my eyes to how little we are taught about investing, as well as personal finance topics from budgeting and saving, to mortgages and debt,” she said.
Ola explained why financial literacy is so crucial, particularly for women: “We all know that women experience a number of financial inequalities in life. Because of this, it’s important that women and girls are empowered with financial education from a young age to help them become well-equipped to financially navigate adulthood. Teaching women how to become more empowered with their finances will enable them to feel more comfortable when it comes to managing their own finances, investing in the stock market, and even negotiating their salary at work.”
She offered her practical advice to enable young girls to grow into women investors: “To demystify investing, it’s important to remove the jargon and make it relatable to young girls so that they feel empowered and motivated to do it themselves. Investing is already daunting, so it’s important that information is delivered in a fun and engaging way.”
Iona Bain – Author and Founder of the Young Money blog
As a millennial entering the workforce during the 2008 global recession, Iona’s financial anxieties eventually paved her path as a financial journalist. “I didn’t know when – or if – I’d be able to earn enough to achieve my financial independence. These worries came to a head when I lost all my savings in a burglary – tip: don’t keep your spare cash in a piggy bank that can be easily nicked!” Iona said.
“That’s why I started blogging about personal finance. I wanted to learn about money management, to feel more confident as I navigated the big bad world and help other young people along the way.”
Iona offered her top investing tips for young women: “Don’t overthink it. Just do it. It’s far better to get started, invest little and often and learn along the way”.
“Of course, you’ve got to be responsible. But usually when it comes to planning your finances, the worst decision is to make no decision at all. You have to take calculated risks to get on, and women don’t have many social and cultural cues encouraging them. Override that conditioning and leap before you look. Trust yourself that you’ll figure things out,” she advised.
For parents who want to teach their children about finances, Iona recommended: “Encourage them to save up their allowance for fun things or to put spare cash in a ‘fun jar’ and use that money for an enjoyable day-out, so they can see the benefits of saving.”
Kat Khoury – Partnership Director of Inspiring Girls International
BNY Mellon Investment Management has partnered with Inspiring Girls International to help raise aspirations of young girls around the world by connecting them with female role models in the financial sector – to demonstrate the variety of career options and encourage investing in the future.
Kat has always been passionate about helping others, so she pivoted her career from events to fundraising for humanitarian causes. “I was lucky to engage with incredibly inspiring communities all over the world. More often than not, the people leading efforts for change were women – these phenomenal role models within their community. Inspiring Girls International seemed a natural choice for me,” she said.
In Kat’s view, representation can make the difference for young girls to achieve financial independence. “Hearing from a role model can change a girl’s approach to money, in a way that makes her feel empowered to make confident choices and invest in her future.
“There are not many visible female role models in finance, as women are significantly underrepresented in finance professions. Therefore, our work at Inspiring Girls becomes vitally important – so that young girls all over the world can actually hear from inspiring role models and learn about how to manage their money,” Kat said.
And it’s never too early for young girls to begin to learn about money. “We know that talking to girls about finance, specifically at an age where they can start to appreciate finance, can have a transformational impact as they progress into their adult lives,” Kat explained.
“Learning what a credit card is, what a bank does with their money, what a credit score is and how it can impact your life – these sorts of topics simply aren’t talked about enough at home or at school, so equipping young girls with the confidence to discuss money and a fundamental understanding of the basics of finance, can be a ground-breaking step-change in the way girls approach their future,” she said.
Plus, when women succeed, everyone wins. “It’s in the interest of wider society that young girls take more of an interest into their finances and investment, in particular, as it’s known that women invest more into environmental and social causes than men – which can have a transformational impact on the planet and various communities,” Kat said.
Anne-Marie McConnon – Chief Marketing and Client Experience Officer, BNY Mellon Investment Management
For Anne-Marie, the data speaks for itself: women as a whole stand a lot to gain from investing.
“We know from our research that today women still invest less than men. One of the primary barriers is that investment groups are not effectively engaging women. We are simply not speaking their language. Having more female perspectives influencing change alongside male allies is so critical to the future of the industry,” she said.
The gender-investment gap has an impact both on women’s welfare and on business. “Women may find it harder to be financially independent and could face financial difficulty should their life circumstances change or even in retirement because their pension and savings are lower than men’s,” Anne-Marie explained. “Our research shows that if women invested at the same rate as men, it would equate to an additional $3.2 trillion in assets under management,” she said.
BNY Mellon Investment Management is leading the charge to tackle the gender investment gap. “By driving conversation and engagement on money from a young age, we are effecting change at the grassroots level, and our partnership with Inspiring Girls International, connecting young girls with female role models and offering improved financial literacy. We are actively engaging industry bodies and even competitor groups – as more female participation is good for women, for business and society,” Anne-Marie said.
You can find out more about BNY Mellon Investment Management's Inclusive Investment report and the importance of engaging and empowering young people with their finances.
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