Through events, workshops, and company visits, the student organization, Female Invest, created a unique knowledge-sharing forum for investors where women can ask questions and share their ideas.
And as it turns out, that is a brilliant idea. Because banks are also trying to target the growing population of women who seek to invest their money. Denmark faces a significant gender gap in investment, where women only own 30% of the value of the stock market.
However, according to one of the co-founders, Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, the banks face difficulties reaching these women and therefore use Female Invest as the connecting link.
Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen points out that research shows that women as being more likely to open up and ask questions when they are not in a male-dominated environment.
Danske Bank, Saxo Bank, Nordea and the union, Finansforbundet, are examples of organizations that have provided facilities and employees for Female Invest’s events.
Whenever I told my female friends about investing, the response was ‘oh that’s so impressive!'Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, Founder and VP at Female Invest
Loneliness is a key driver
Loneliness and a lack of female sparring partners are some of the key drivers behind Female Invest. Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen and several of Female Invest’s co-founders have experienced these themselves.
With their work, they hope to create a space where women can build their professional networks, educate themselves, and work towards sparking conversations of investment as a natural topic over dinner with female friends.
“Whenever I told my female friends about investing, the response was ‘oh that’s so impressive! I wish I could do it, but it would be way too difficult,’ and I just kept thinking ‘no it’s not too difficult! You could do it as well!” says Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen.
Investing – a lonely task?
In fact, one of Female Invest’s newest members, Kiki Hoffmann Andersen, is a testament that investing is lonely. She explained that she would often put off investing simply because it seemed like a time-consuming and daunting task.
Kiki Hoffmann Andersen is not alone in her doubts surrounding investment. She explains that many women around the world are reluctant to immerse themselves in the world of investing because there are so many factors that seem to be unknown.
“Banking, finance, and investment aren’t common dinner-table conversation topics for many women, and so naturally, many of them feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to about it,” she says.
Female invest is about learning.Emma Due Bitz, Head and co-founder of Female Invest
What if I lose all my money?
Another motivator behind the founding of Female Invest comes from co-founder Emma Due Bitz who, as a student, worked with equity trading in Nordea. Here, she experienced how many recently widowed women would come to their bank advisors without knowing what to do with their money because their husbands used to take care of their finances.
“I didn’t want to end up as one of those women. Also, I really wanted some more female colleagues to whom I can share my experiences of working in the banking industry,” explained Emma Due Bitz when asked about what motivated her to create Female Invest.
According to the three students, a lack of confidence and a fear of losing all their money is another factor contributing to many women not investing. However, this fear is actually in vain.
“The fact is, that if we don’t invest our money and keep them on our savings account instead, we slowly lose them because of inflation and low interest rates. Even low-risk investments offer a better return than the current interest rates, so there is no good argument for not investing,” says Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen and adds:
“Simply put, women earn less and live longer than men. Therefore, it is important that women take more responsibility for their private finances and learn about investing.”
The students behind Female Invest recognize that getting started investing can be difficult, and that money as a student might be tight. Nevertheless, they encourage students to attend their events.
“You don’t need a fortune to get started in investing. Also, learning how to invest prepares you for getting the most out of your money once you get your first big salary,” says Emma Due Bitz.
Not a women-only club
Although Female Invest targets women, they are not a women-only organization and they have no political affiliation.
“Female invest is about learning. The reason our organization is named ‘Female Invest’ is that it helps us reach women by signaling that we offer a safe space with like-minded individuals,” says Emma Due Bitz.
She emphasizes that men are also welcome at their events and that Female Invest has one male student in the steering committee.