The Past, Present, + Future of Women in Investing

Two women working on a budget

With the expansion of women’s financial rights throughout the 20th century, women are increasingly present in investing. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, female financiers pushed societal norms to include women in financial decisions. Today, women are a powerful force in finance.  

When did women start investing?

200 years ago, American women were not allowed to vote, own property, or invest. In order to break into the bustling stock exchange, women paid commissions to men to invest on their behalf. 40 years before they had the right to vote, women in America were beginning to enter the investing market. Some female pioneers opened women-only brokerages.

Early female investors in the late 19th and early 20th century were constantly berated by critics who believed women were too emotionally unstable to weather the ups and downs of the market. Pushing societal narratives around women and money was (and still is) not easy. Prominent women in finance faced extreme backlash; financier Hetty Green was often persecuted by the press and nicknamed the “Witch of Wall Street.” 

It wasn’t until 50 years after Green’s death that, in 1967, Muriel Siebert became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Women’s financial rights expanded throughout the 1970s. In 1974, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act granted women the right to open a bank account or get a credit card in their own name without the permission of their husbands. 

How are women changing the game of investing?

Today, American women control more than $10 trillion, or about a third of total U.S. household financial assets. With that number expected to rise over the next decade, female investors are not a niche market but underserved clients

Young women are more knowledgeable about personal finance than the generations before them and invest differently than men their same age. Women are more likely to pursue socially-conscious impact investing

Women have been at the forefront of ESG – environmental, social, and governance – investing, pushing for investment options that align with their values. With more young women entering the world of investment, impact investing is likely to continue to expand. 

What does the future hold for women and investing?

The past and present of women in investing are largely white. While the gender gap in investing is changing, it is necessary to ensure all women are represented in personal finance. The future for women in investing needs to be intersectional and inclusive

The future of investing must include building wealth for women in historically-divested communities.  A few high-profile female investors do not change the reality that over half of the 37 million Americans living in poverty today are women. In every ethnic and racial group, women are more likely to live in poverty than men. 

The future of investing for women offers us an opportunity for a redistribution of wealth for the benefit of all women.  

With no investment minimum, Invested Interests believes that building wealth through strategic and ethical investing should be an opportunity for all people. To learn more about our approach to impactful investing, check out InvestedInterests.com and reach out today.