The end result is that women are less likely to invest and more likely to prioritise the more pressing financial demands in their lives, such as paying bills and making ends meet.
Geopolitical tensions only add insult to injury.
For those already tentative about entering into the investment world, doing so at a time when volatility is high due to a whole catalogue of different reasons (including inflation, the fall-out from Covid-19, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict) can be daunting.
FTA: What can be done to help democratise investment? What is the role of technology?
DK: To instil real change, we need to normalise talking about money and this must be as wide-ranging as families having conversations at the dinner table through to mandatory money management classes at schools.
The education system is failing to teach students about the fundamentals of personal finance and investing. It’s no wonder that investing is an alien concept to so many young adults.
To truly democratise the investment world, we need to change its culture. Financial literacy should be a priority, as should improving the visibility of strong female role models in the financial services sector.
Equally, established banks and investment firms must do more to target women and provide them with sound advice to set them on the right path, while keeping investment fees low to reduce the barriers to entry.
This includes getting people comfortable with the prospect of risk, which is no mean feat when we have been societally programmed to avoid it.
FTA: How can we bridge the literacy gap?
DK: I believe the digital environment can be a great leveller. Already, advancements in technology are paving the path to greater diversity and inclusion in the investment world.
If properly regulated, emerging platforms can make investing more affordable, simpler and accessible to a larger portion of the population, by lowering the typically high barriers of entry.
Greater access to technology and information can also help bridge the financial literacy gap.
From digital publications to webinars and podcasts, technology has made it possible for consumers to become more financially savvy by tapping into free educational resources.
Further, new technologies have the potential to make investing more transparent – we hope that Gather, when launched, will give people more confidence that their money is being spent effectively, as well as the ability to see what other people are doing with their funds.
FTA: How can financial advisers reach a wider, potentially younger, audience to help them in their financial wellbeing?
DK: Meeting this audience where they are – that is, on the likes of TikTok and Reddit, for example – would make for a good start.
Making education and support fun, easily accessible and bringing it to a wider audience will make women and younger people more likely to engage with their finances.