The (Financial) Future Is Female

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While it’s been around for more than 40 years, the rallying cry “The Future Is Female” is breathing new life into gender-equality movements around the world, as women gain greater political power, social sovereignty, and economic agency.

This last current of change, which has yet to grab the spotlight in the same way as other transformations, may soon take center stage. With women’s control of investible wealth on the rise, possibly reaching $72 trillion dollars worldwide by 2020, the ramifications are clear: Women’s influence as investors in global financial markets—and, by extension, national economies— has grown substantially, and will continue to do so. In this light, it’s critically important to consider the approach women take to their finances and the issues they care most about.

S&P Global recently polled women and men in the 11 countries with the largest stock markets to gauge aspects of financial preparedness, investment behaviors, and financial market sentiment.

Women’s preparedness and participation in each of those markets varies, and this collaborative effort is an attempt at revealing interesting insights about cultural and economic factors representing women’s realities. However, one thing is clear: Whatever comes next comes down to women.

Key Takeaways

  • Women’s control of the world’s investible wealth may reach $72 trillion by 2020, adding to their influence as investors in global financial markets—and, by extension, national economies. Women are also more likely than men to weigh a company’s environmental and social impact when making investment or purchasing decisions.
  • Only 26% of American women invest in the financial markets, despite 41% saying now would be a good time to invest. On the bright side, more than two-thirds of women in the U.S. and Canada believe that they are in charge of their financial well-being.
  • More than 70% of men and women in the U.K., Germany, France, and Switzerland say they are at least somewhat worried about their financial future. In each of these countries, a higher percentage of women said so, including a shocking 88% of women in France.
  • More than eight in 10 women in Japan and Korea are worried about their personal finances.
  • Overall, trust and confidence in financial institutions and stock markets are high amongst the population in India, with approximately 80% of both women and men finding them to be at least “somewhat” credible sources of information.

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