It’s safe to say that Wall Street and the financial marketplace is largely male-dominated. Women only run 2% of hedge funds and there are only a handful of top female managers. When we think of the world’s greatest investors, we think of Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Benjamin Graham, Mohnish Pabrai… and no women. There definitely need to be more opportunities in investing for women.
KWHS set out to meet some of this summer’s Girls Who Invest scholars to find out about their interest in the financial industry and some of their most valuable lessons from the four weeks they spent learning about finance at Wharton. As part of the program, all of the girls are now working in a six-week paid finance-related internships. The hope is that they continue to engage with their Girls Who Invest network as they build their careers and ultimately boost the number of women in top finance positions. “To me, the combination of women and finance and education is just one of the most powerful on the globe,” observed Cowell. “We’ve seen study after study. If women can manage their own money, then families are better, violence is reduced, nutrition goes up…if more women manage money at portfolios, you see greater diversity of hiring, more optimization of portfolio returns. It’s a better outcome with so many collateral benefits. There’s certainly an intellectual understanding that diversity of thought in all its forms, including gender, is a good thing for business. Getting to the result is harder.”

In recent weeks, Knowledge@Wharton High School began noticing young women on the Wharton campus in Philadelphia, Pa., U.S., who were wearing hats and carrying bags inscribed with three simple words: Girls Who Invest. Since we happen to know lots of girls with this interest – thousands from around the world have participated in our annual KWHS Investment Competition for high school students – we decided to look further into this intriguing GWI sorority. Who were they? Why were they here? And were they truly stock market devotees?
Women entrepreneurs continue to face significant disadvantages in business despite studies showing that their companies actually outperform all-male companies by 63%. Incredibly, female business owners receive only 3% of venture capital investments, significantly limiting the growth of their companies. Female founders of color receive a mere fraction of that amount. We at FUND Conference are determined to help change this.
So, if you choose, you can direct your money at Ellevest to funds that invest in companies with more women leaders, and with policies that advance women. Companies that provide loans to support women-owned businesses and companies that provide community services — child education, performing arts, housing and care for seniors and people in need. Companies working to meet higher standards for sustainability (which has a greater effect on women) and ethical practices (same).
Investing money in the stock market is not a complicated process, but it requires making decisions. Will you buy funds, exchange traded funds or equities? If so, which ones — and in what proportion? And on which platform will you choose to hold your investments? These are the practical barriers, but bigger decisions are needed to guide these choices — namely, what am I saving for, and how can I do so in the most tax-efficient way?
Coming in, I expected that my colleagues would be ultra-Type A, all work/no play, super serious folks given the nature of our work. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the great relationships and friendships I’ve developed at work and the camaraderie on our floor. I also expected the job to be extremely difficult in terms of the learning curve and was worried about my ability to handle it. It certainly is challenging, but with the support of my colleagues and mentors, I can really map out how much I’ve grown and learned over the past year. Everyone wants each other to succeed.
All the women agreed – and their successful banking careers testify – that you don’t have to be masculine to succeed as an investment banker. Nonetheless, Lorraine conceded: ‘You do need to be confident and assertive. However, that could be quietly confident. Ultimately, you will need to be able to find a way to be confident and assertive that reflects your character.’ Sophie agreed: ‘Don’t change yourself – you can’t pretend to be someone else.’
MS. TURLINGTON BURNS: We've trained hundreds of new midwives in Guatemala, Haiti, Syria, and Bangladesh. But access to quality maternal healthcare is not only a problem in the developing world, many American women are struggling to find the support they need throughout their pregnancies. Two women die every day giving birth in the US. So, we're giving grants to community-based programs in the U.S. that are providing pre-natal care, childbirth education, and doula services for low-income women.
In a recent survey by Morgan Stanley 84% of women said they were interested in “sustainable” investing, that is, targeting not just financial returns but social or environmental goals. The figure for men was 67%. Matthew Patsky of Trillium Asset Management, a sustainable-investment firm, estimates that two-thirds of the firm’s direct clients who are investing as individuals are women. Among the couples who are joint clients, investing sustainably has typically been the wife’s idea. Julia Balandina Jaquier, an impact-investment adviser in Zurich, says that though women who inherit wealth are often less confident than men about how to invest it, when it comes to investing with a social impact “women are more often prepared to be the risk-takers and trailblazers.”
After setting up this organization and being a profitable business which makes us sustainable we realized that we were still not changing some habits in these families. Yes, they had a steady income but if the kid said, "I want to drop out of school when I'm 12," the mother said okay, fine, you don't want to go to school? Don't go to school. Or they were having Coca-Cola for breakfast, not that I have anything against Coca-Cola, but if they're suffering from diabetes maybe it's better that they have oranges, that they have orange trees in the backyard.
Over the past three years, Fidelity has seen the number of women investing their money with the firm grow significantly—by 19 percent, to more than 12 million. "The good news is many women are putting themselves in the financial driver's seat, taking positive steps to save and invest effectively for their future," said Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity. "But there are still many who need to do more. The reality is that saving alone is not enough to even keep pace with inflation, so if you're not investing, you're likely losing money. Taking the next step to ensure that savings are invested properly and generating growth is critical to helping women progress toward their financial goals and live the lives they deserve."
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Who among us doesn’t want a loftier position with a more impressive sounding title and a higher salary, regardless of where we currently work? The truth is, this isn’t always an immediately attainable reality for everyone—maybe you’re just getting started at your current job and it’s too soon to start thinking about a promotion, or maybe the place you work at is small and there’s no clear upward trajectory. Whatever the reason, if you’re seeking a promotion and there’s no obvious path for growth for you in your current job, perhaps this means you should make a more drastic change as part of your New Year’s resolution planning.
MS. URZAIZ: I'll say four words: More women in power. I think we need more women, whether it's holding public office, whether it's in business, whether it's, the person I'm trying to make a decision at Lowe's to whether to buy my hammocks or not. Just those decisions where it's just decision-making positions we need more women because women relate better to other women. No offense to the men here, but it's easier to make that connection, to know that they have our agenda at first when they make those decisions for policy, for so many things. Just more women in power I think is what will get us to the next level. So many policies have been put in place, but now we need women making those decisions and driving those decisions.
#1... biggest advice to any female looking to break into finance... drop the feminista thing, it won't get you anywhere. It's ok to be bitchy, and in fact may help you in certain instances, but don't ever, ever pull the feminist card. There's nothing worse than a person who chalks up their own personal failings to an "anti-me" thing. It's nothing more than an excuse for being a slacker.
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