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Learning from our Female Investors

Why do fewer women in the UK invest their money than men? Statistics show that just 21% of women currently hold an investment, as opposed to 35% of men and 52% of women in the UK say they have never held an investment. Ahead of this year’s Good Money Week (29th Sept – 5th Oct), we have been speaking to some of our existing female investors, to help us understand their motivations and interests, to use these to help encourage more women to join the Positive Investing movement.

We invite you to meet some of them: 

Anne Parsons, biodynamic farmer and investor in Stockwood CBS

Anne Parsons is the daughter of David Clement, a pioneer in the British organic movement and one of the first two biodynamic farmers in the UK. Anne became the farmer of Rush Farm, a 190-acre farm in Worcestershire, now owned by Stockwood Community Benefit Society. Finally, in her sixties, she had the opportunity to fulfil her vocation, nurturing the land.

Stockwood (CBS) now owns the pioneering biodynamic Rush Farm and Business Park and is seeking to raise a further £550,000 through a new share offer. Investments support a renewable energy project, protect the farm, and fund an education centre for schools and young people to learn transformational social and life skills.

Anne was one of the first investors in Stockwood CBS:

We opened the farm up to community ownership to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself and the precious landscape is not lost. Stockwood is a successful project pioneering a new model of farming that transforms land ownership. The community of investors will always have a say in its future whilst receiving interest. I hope other farmers are inspired to do the same.

The Stockwood Community Benefit Society (CBS) is the UK’s only 100% community-owned farm looking to pay shareholders a 5% financial return, while providing significant social, environmental and economic impacts.

Anne Parsons said: "When my father sold the farm a secret resolve was made, to buy it back one day. Rush farm has taken its place and is now run to the highest certified-Demeter biodynamic and Soil Association organic standards. It creates carbon-rich soil, encourages wildlife, uses low-energy farming methods, and respects the natural behaviour of farm animals. I want to be sure it stays this way forever.

Claire Ainsworth, Investment Manager and investor in Energy Garden Bonds

When asked about her motivations to invest in ethical bonds, Claire says: “I want my money to work for the community as well as to deliver financial returns. For me ethical investing is about understanding what my money will be doing and knowing that it makes a difference.”

Claire would recommend ethically saving and investing to others, saying: “With a little extra work it is possible to invest money so that you get a decent return and also feel good about where your money is.You may take a little extra risk to achieve the right balance but I would recommend everyone who invests to think about where their money is going and to dedicate part of it to positive ethical investment."

We spoke to Claire about the gender gap in investing and she commented: 

"I believe that research shows that women generally are not as confident investors as men. I think this difference in investment activity generally may be because it is only comparatively recently that we have had control of our own money, or it may because we can be more cautious than men. Ethical investing can help to overcome some of these barriers because it feels more “real”. There should be no confidence gap between men and women as to what is a good use of investment money. "

“As ethical investment becomes more mainstream I think women should lead the way. And as ethical investment organisations and managers spread information more widely I am sure that women especially will appreciate the opportunity to invest in communities and the environment,” concluded Claire

Jenny Carr, Campaign Manager and investor in Low Carbon Hub

Jenny’s motivations for investing in this project are: “Wanting to know where my money is actually going and that it is making a difference, not just lining someone’s pockets!

Although she confesses not to be a financial expert, Jenny would recommend ethical investing to others:

When faced with the possibility of putting my money toward a really valuable project with tangible benefits, versus leaving it in a bank or building society where I have no idea what it does, the choice is suddenly very simple.

I love knowing exactly what my money is actually doing, and feeling confident that it is being invested in something that aligns with my values."

Caroline Haywood, Environmental Law and Policy Advisor and Investor in Energise Africa

Caroline invested in one of the Energise Africa projects, funding solar businesses bringing clean energy products directly to families living off-grid in sub-Saharan Africa.

Caroline says her motivations were: “to generate a more positive impact with my savings, particularly looking at environmental protection and social development.

We know that many investment funds are still investing in fossil fuels, weapons manufacture, and other industries that are damaging our planet and our neighbours. The divestment movement shone a light on the positive changes that could be made when moving away from these industries.

Investing ethically in specific projects goes beyond that which I can dictate when saving with a bank or other more traditional savings organisations. I feel more in control about where my savings are targeted and what my money is able to change.”

Caroline goes on to encourage others to consider ethical investments, she says “the old saying “Money is power” still holds true, and we should use our power as savers and investors to create positive change.

“I would even go so far as to say that people looking to invest have the moral duty to think critically about how their savings and investments are impacting the planet.”

At Ethex, we are continuing to listen to all our investors, and especially women, to find out what motivates and attracts them to ethical investing and, perhaps more importantly, what they see as the barriers for women to start making their money do good.

Lisa Ashford, Managing Director, Lendahand Ethex Ltd says: “It is incorrect to think that men are more engaged with their money simply because there are more male investors. The industry needs to understand the motivations of the investor, not simply how a product is communicated or what it returns.

Good Money Week is a great initiative for looking at investing not simply as a product but a means of supporting an issue you value. If we can encourage more people to get involved, then that is a great outcome.”

Interested?

Of course, every person is different, and you should always look carefully at the pros and cons of any investment you make. But if you’re interested in using your money to help make a positive impact, as well as earning you a potential financial reward, why wait?

With Ethex you can invest with confidence that your money is having a positive impact, so browse our platform today and start taking control of your money.

Find out more about how Ethex can help you invest in businesses you believe in!

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