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A look at gender in ethical investing this International Women's Day

 

International Women’s Day is held on 8th March each year by people all over the globe, who celebrate the progress of the women’s rights movement as well as highlight the inequality that still exists between the genders.

At Ethex, we believe International Women’s Day (IWD) is a huge cause for celebration, as we are proud of the culture of strong female leadership, both within our organisation and in the ethical investing industry as a whole.

We've come a long way

And there is much to celebrate. The women’s rights movement has made a big difference to the lives of women over the years. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, over 70% of women aged 16 to 64 are employed, up from just over 50% in 1971.

While data from the Institute of Public Policy Research suggests that more than two million working mothers in Britain earn more than their partners – an amazing increase of 80% in just 15 years.

Female representation in ethical finance

On IWD especially, we want to celebrate the women within the ethical finance industry, and socially responsible businesses as a whole. Social Enterprise UK’s State of Social Enterprise report showed that of all UK social enterprises, 41% are led by women and more than half have a female majority workforce.

Ethex are proud to feature investment opportunities in ethical businesses that are run by pioneering female leaders. 

Low Carbon Hub

One example of this is The Low Carbon Hub, an Oxford-based community energy organisation. The Low Carbon Hub’s CEO is Dr Barbara Hammond, MBE, a former head of the UK government’s renewable energy programme.

Their current share offer will help fill their Community Energy Fund, that will create new green energy projects around Oxford, including solar panel installation on schools and businesses.
The aim of the fund is to create more renewable energy, save tonnes of CO2 emissions and help consign fossil fuels to history. Find out more about the Low Carbon Hub share offer here.

Birdsong

Co-founders of Birdsong feminist clothing brand- Sarah Neville, Sophie Slater and Susanna Wen- have taken a stand against photoshop in their adverts and ensure that up to 80% of the sales of their items is paid to the expert women that make them in the UK - from artists and printmakers to migrant seamstresses and painters.

Our current Birdsong investment offer is open only to High Net Worth and Sophisticated Investors. If you would like to find more about their Equity offer please click here to self-certify. 

 

An investment gender gap still exists

Yet, despite the positive movement towards a more gender-equal society, gaps still exist. One such gap is in personal finance management, more specifically in the holding of investment products in the UK.

Ethex, along with our sister platform, Energise Africa, recently carried out research into UK attitudes to ethical investing, with some surprising results.

• 67% of female respondents said they held no investment products
• 40% of women said they held no pension, compared to 33% of men

Why are women less likely to invest?

As we’ve seen, more women than ever are likely to be in employment, with the female salary on the rise. So why are more women not investing their money?

Most of the evidence points to a lack of confidence or understanding of investment products from women being the cause. The investment industry is traditionally a male-dominated environment and as such, can be off-putting for women.

Educating women on ethical investing

Interestingly, from our research, we learned that - 43% of women think it is very or extremely important for them to get more information or education on ethical financial products to build their confidence to invest. Also, research by Good Money Week revealed that 58% of women do not think financial institutions understand them and their needs.

At Ethex, we are dedicated to helping more everyday people (women and men) to use their money as a force for good, so we have developed a 5-part email course on ethical investing to dispel some of the myths and help people to get started.

The course is designed to help you understand what ethical investing is, the products, sectors and risks, along with some tips to get started. Interested? Sign up here - it’s free!

We’ve been collaborating with the team at Good with Money on a Good Guide to Impact Investing, which is a fantastic respire for anyone wanting to learn more about the subject. It will be released on 8th March and available from their website https://good-with-money.com/

We’ve also been speaking at Good Money Week events, entitled “Who Fund the World?” aimed at women, to help encourage them to find out more about ethical investing, sharing tips and answering questions.

This International Women’s Day, we’d like to share our appreciation of all women in the ethical investing industry. We are proud to stand beside them to help more people make better decisions with their finances to help tackle issues like climate change, social inequality and regenerate their communities.

It is important to us that we make ethical investing easy and accessible to help more women join the ranks of Positive Investors who are making their money do good.

Happy International Women’s Day from everyone at Ethex!

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