Market Health

Gender Typing and Finance: What Women Want… Is Everything Men Have

“No young lady has ever asked me to do that before,” he said.

I was proud of myself and insulted simultaneously.

That day, I had called my financial advisor to ask if he could reinvest the dividends for one of the stocks in my account. I had recently learned about DRIPs, or dividend reinvestment plans, at my job at The Oxford Club. And I thought, “Hey, it’s worth a shot.”

It took just a few minutes to set up on his end, and then I hung up the phone. Why had no one told me about this earlier?

That’s easy.

I’m a woman.

Where Did We Go Wrong?

Women are grossly underrepresented in math and science fields, including finance and investing.

But the odds are stacked against them from conception.

Gender reveal parties, children’s toys, sports rules and targeted advertising all reinforce the age-old narrative that girls are different… less than…

This lesson is subliminally – and sometimes explicitly – transmitted in everyday society. And it even affects what young women choose to study in college.

This is where the pay gap originates, according to a 2017 survey by Glassdoor.

Upon entering college, men tend to gravitate toward STEM fields like engineering, physics and computer science. Whereas women end up in social work, healthcare administration, anthropology, nursing and human resources. The survey notes that this is “often due to societal pressures.”

Glassdoor also found that nine of the 10 highest-paying majors were male-dominated. By contrast, six of the 10 lowest-paying majors were female-dominated.

College Majors Ranked By Salary

Again, this all goes back to nurture. I’m looking at you, parents.

A T. Rowe Price survey found that parents treat their children differently because they think boys are better with money.

Eighty percent of parents with a boy think their child understands the value of a dollar. Only 69% of parents with a girl do.

The worst part?

Our daughters are taking this to heart.

Forty-five percent of boys say they are very or extremely smart about money. While just 38% of girls say the same.

Anything You Can Do…

The trickle-down effects of these stereotypes are staggering.

In North America, less than 10% of mutual fund portfolio managers are female. And women make up only 6% of the chief investment officers of the largest institutional money managers in the U.S.

Furthermore, 86% of investment advisors (including mine) are men over the age of 50.

These statistics are exactly why groups like Girls Who Invest and Ellevest exist. There’s a need for organizations that educate, empower and mentor women who are interested in finance, investing and trading.

This divide shouldn’t exist when you look at the facts…

Slightly more than half of women who contribute half or more of the household income are responsible for managing the money.

Women are less likely to get into debt or make impulsive trades.

They’re also more likely to encourage both girls and boys to pursue careers in fields dominated by the opposite sex.

Your Money, Your Future

Women, it’s not that we can’t. It’s that no one taught us how.

That’s why it’s critical for couples to manage money together…

For parents to teach their children about managing finances…

For friends to share their cost-saving hacks…

For women to negotiate better salaries…

And for everyone to seek out the answers to their financial questions.

Because sometimes, you have to reinvest those dividends yourself. And damn, it feels good.

Good investing,

Rebecca

P.S. I’d love to hear any similar stories you may have. Leave a comment below!