By Your Trading Mentor,
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2023!!
March 8th celebrates International Women’s Day and with females in finance being a hot topic and my speciality, I thought it would be fun to do a deep dive into the question, probably only women are asking, and that is ‘do women make better traders than men?’
Just to preface this, I’m all about equality and am not a crazy feminist, I have a great relationship with my father, I have a male partner who is the most intelligent and supportive person I know, and have loving respect for all the wonderful contributions men make in this world. But for International Women’s Day let’s take a moment to celebrate women today.
THE WORST GENDER PAY GAP IN THE UK
Females in finance is a hot topic because while the UK has made great progress in narrowing the gender inequality gap in many areas, finance is actually one where there is still a relatively sizeable gap. The data suggests that the number of women in financial services in the UK has been growing. Apparently 43% of the workforce in 2019 was women BUT the figures also suggest that significantly fewer of them are in leadership roles, executive or board positions. Reportedly only 15% of finance directors in the UK’s FTSE 100 companies are women. And as you can imagine in the finance sector, the divide in pay between those at the top of companies and those in more supportive roles, is huge. This means that consequently, the pay gap between men and women in finance in the UK is very significant. In 2021 it was reported that in the UK the finance sector actually had the WORST gender pay gap.
Having said all of this, the world is changing and there are now new ways women can work within finance. For example, I am a retail trader and a trading mentor, which means I trade from home and I teach others to trade on Zoom. This is an incredibly flexible position for me and there aren’t many barriers, other than reputation, which would prevent me from being in work. And I see many other women online who are choosing to take this path too, which is wonderful. Last year I was interviewed on the subject of being a female in the finance sector and I was asked if I felt like there were barriers for me and if I needed to work harder then men to be taken seriously. I answered, honestly, that no I did not feel this. It’s possible that I do have to work harder I’m just not aware of it, but it’s also possible that because I work from home and for myself, the same barriers which other women experience don’t necessarily apply to me. If I was trying to get a job in a bank in London, for example, I might start to experience some of the sexism I hear comes with the territory. But for me, working from home as a retail trader and mentor at my trading desk, I’m for the most part, blissfully unaware.
As part of International Women’s Day I have been invited by the broker XTB to take part in an annual event which they are putting on. This year they are focusing on women in trading and I’ll be joining a panel of females in finance to discuss if women do make better traders than men and the various stereotypes for women in trading. We are also going to be looking at what is possibly holding women back from learning to trade, and what can be done to try and encourage more women to get into trading.
DON’T LET THEM KNOW YOU’RE INTERESTED IN MONEY
This made me reflect on my own personal journey with finance. I remember always being interested in finance and business at school but I had a bad experience when I tried to express this as a teenager and the reaction I received put me off being open about this afterwards. I was about 15 or 16 and we were talking about various career options at school. I’d heard a few of the boys in my class talking about wanting to work in finance. I thought this sounded interesting too. One of our teachers was encouraging us to reach for the stars and believe anything is possible and in doing this asked us a series of questions which we needed to share with the class. One of the questions was to name something which interested us. Inspired by the conversations about finance the boys had been having, I realised that understanding money interested me too, learning about how some people were able to manage their money in a way in which it grew interested me, being financially savvy and understanding how the financial markets worked interested me. But as I was very young, I wasn’t articulate enough to express this quite like that, I just replied that ‘money’ interested me. And the whole class, altogether rolled their eyes and told me with disgust that I was pathetic. I believe a couple of the boys in that class have now grown up to work in finance. I was never quite sure why it was a respectable job for them to talk about wanting, but when I said it, I was pathetic. I think, with reflection, saying you are interested in ‘money’ people find jarring but if you say ‘finance’ it is suddenly acceptable. Not understanding this at the time I just noted that I wasn’t supposed to talk about an interest in money and went down the path of least resistance in media studies.
When I expressed an interest in trading later on in my teens I was told that traders died young because of the stress so I thought that probably didn’t sound worth being rich if I wasn’t going to live long enough to spend my money. All in all, I let the opinions and reactions of other people put me off doing what I wanted to do and only really came back around to finance (not money) later on in my life. And a pretty sizeable regret of mine is that I didn’t revisit the idea sooner. To be honest, trading isn’t quick to learn. There’s a lot of information and multitasking and I often liken it to juggling spinning plates. I wish I’d started learning sooner so I would have had the information sooner. Hindsight is always 20/20.
HOW DO WOMEN INVEST?
Is there a difference between the way women invest and how men invest? According to data by XTB the answer is ‘yes’. It seems there is a slight difference in the age of the average investor. Women are typically a bit older with the average age being 37, whereas for men it is 35. The way in which we invest is also seemingly different. Women tend to opt for desktops or computers while men seems to prefer using mobile devices. The analysis behind these differences has been put down to the fact that women typically take a bit longer to make decisions than men do, which means they are happier to opt for slower devices. Men on the other hand prefer to make quick decisions. Women typically seek advice from peers or experts whereas men often don’t ask for anyones opinion. This was the analysis from experts from the Koszalin University of Technology.
To be completely honest, in my experience working as a trading mentor I have worked alongside many men and women so it would be difficult for me to say if I believe this is true or not as the people who come to me for help are always seeking my opinion anyway, therefore I’m frequently getting asked for my opinion by men AND women. I have worked with over 100 traders one to one and the divide is roughly 60% men to 40% women. So I would say there isn’t too much in it from my experience, however I understand that I have only worked with a very small cross section of the overall population. Having worked as a trading mentor for a few years now and having encountered many female traders, here is a list of the qualities which I have found women typically have which make them great at trading forex.
WOMEN ARE GREAT PLANNERS
This is a great transferable skill which makes women excellent at planning events in their personal lives and also planning trades when they are forex traders. Planning a trade is a key skill to being a successful trader. All good traders need a trading plan!
WOMEN PAY GREAT ATTENTION TO DETAIL
We like attention to detail in many areas of life and this is why we are great at designing and making things look beautiful and why, in trading, we are great at putting a lot of time and care into making sure our trade is just right.
WOMEN SEEM TO LIKE HOMEWORK
I’m not going to say they all love homework but I’ve noticed a lot of my female mentees are pretty keen to be given tasks to do during the week between mentoring sessions. They seem to like learning and having the opportunity to grow and develop in their own time as well as in the trading classes.
WOMEN ARE GREAT AT REFLECTING WHEN THEY HAVE MADE A MISTAKE
This is important in trading. We all make mistakes, especially when we are brand new beginner traders. In fact, I‘ve heard some people refer to forex traders as professional losers! It’s important to be able to take loses and learn from them. In my experience of mentoring female traders, I would say that women are great at reflection when they have made a mistake, taking ownership and accountability of it and looking forward to what needs to be done to not make the same mistake again. This quality will take you a long way as a forex trader.
WOMEN LIKE TO TAKE THEIR TIME TO DO THINGS PROPERLY
As we have learned from the data from XTB, women like to take their time and to think through their investments before jumping in. They like to consult on their peers, or experts and make slow and thoughtful decisions. This is an excellent quality for a forex trader. One thing I have learned from my time trading forex is that sometimes the best trades take weeks to plan. Often the best set ups mean you are watching the market for ages waiting for the perfect snipper entry. Often when people regret their trading decisions it is because they went in too quickly and didn’t take enough time to think through everything which might go wrong.
WOMEN ARE INTELLIGENT
So I did a bit of research on this one to see if there were any studies done on the IQ of men and women and it seems that overall the average IQ between the two evens out. Seemingly more women hover around the 100 point whereas the spectrum seems to be a bit wider between men. So I couldn’t say either is more or less intelligent but women are certainly no less on average and shouldn’t be told otherwise.
WOMEN HAVE A HIGH THRESHOLD FOR PAIN
And if you’ve ever lost a trade, you’ll know why this is needed!!
So, now we know women can make excellent traders (I wouldn’t be bold enough to say ‘better’ as I don’t have quantitative data for this) what are the repercussions of not having more women in finance roles in the UK?
Firstly, studies suggest that companies with more diverse workforces perform better, are more innovative and productive. These workforces, needless to say, also promote inclusivity.
Gender balance and diversity can also help lead to more creativity, greater empathy with clients (which can in tern lead to company growth and profits) and all of these can also lead to greater job satisfaction.
If you’re a woman who is interested in learning forex trading then send me an email at email@example.com with the title IWD23 for a special 20% discount on the Trading Angel trading course as part of international women’s day 2023.
Love From, Your Trading Mentor x