International Women's Day - 8th March 2021

March 8 2021 - Phoebe Spey, Senior Researcher

Every year on International Women's Day (IWD) a campaign theme is chosen to be celebrated and continued throughout the year, through activities and action. This year's theme - #ChooseToChallenge - encourages everyone to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.

At Ethical Screening, we allow individuals and institutional clients to choose tailored and personal ethical and sustainable criteria for investment portfolios. Investing your money well allows it to grow over the long term, and can help shape your future financial stability.

Which is why, for IWD, we choose to challenge the investment gap between men and women.


Did you know:

  • As of 2018/19, the investment income gender gap was 57% in the UK. This means that while women received an average of £12 a week from investments, men received £28.
  • A 2018 study found there to be a £15bn gender investment gap in the UK, with men holding double the amount of investments as women. The study found that just 26% of millennial women thought of themselves as having a high level of financial engagement, compared with 55% of men.


But despite this, a 2018 study of 2,800 investors found that women outperformed men at investing by 1.8%. This was said to be due to men being more likely to pick more speculative stocks, and females having a more long-term perspective.

Differences between financial rights have been present throughout history and continue today. In the UK, only from 1882 were women allowed to own and control property in their own right; in 1922, the UK allowed equal inheritance rights for the first time; and in 1961, legislation was passed allowing female teachers and civil servants the same pay as males in the same positions.

Studies suggest that financial behaviours and differences between genders start young and continue throughout life. It has been found that young boys are more likely to have received a talk from their parents about money, and that women-orientated magazines are more likely to encourage saving rather than investing, whereas men-orientated magazines emphasise the money-making potential of investments.

There has been a recent focus on the historical treatment and the current gender gap in pensions. Scottish Widows Women and & Retirement Report 2020 found that the average woman in her twenties will retire with £100,000 less in her pension than her male peers, and if this gap was to be closed, then women would have to work an extra 40 years. This is part of a wider topic of the gender pay gap and the arguments surrounding it. It is really important to know and understand how pensions work, as these are essentially investments for the future.


So how can we all Choose to Challenge the investment gender gap?

  • Through talking more about the gender investment gap, investing, pensions and savings in our personal and professional lives, taking care to be inclusive and challenge narratives. Women should and need to be included in these conversations, be starting these conversations, and feel like they can be part of the conversation. Exploring responsible investment opportunities, with products offering a wider variety or risk and ethical portfolios, opens the investment world to a more diverse audience.
  • Through asking more questions about investing; asking others about their own investment beliefs and whether they invest, why they invest, what they invest in, and where they learnt about investing from; and questioning yourself about whether you are complacent in unconscious bias around the subject.
  • Through reading sources about investing and gender bias. Knowledge is power.
  • Through taking control challenging the investment gap through your own actions and challenging others for change.


We are all responsible for what we choose to do with our money, and investing is not a club for a specific type of person.



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