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A place in the Forbes 30 under 30 list for finance. Cartier Women’s Initiative winners 2020. The largest financial educator targeting women in Northern Europe. A best selling book. Not bad for a group of women under 30. Anna Hartvigsen and the team at Female Invest are committed to the fight for gender equality.
Like so many people growing up, Anna didn’t notice the inequality between genders. She believed that hard work would get her anywhere, however this all changed at the age of 19 when she started investing!
“That was the first time I realized that at least there wasn’t anyone looking like me in this world.”
After realizing this, Anna started looking into various pieces of research and quickly learnt that the lack of women in finance and investment was a global problem. She therefore took this as her issue to solve.
One day in the library along with her friend, Emma Blitz, the idea to form an investment group for young women was hatched, with this idea growing exponentially since then into an organisation with a mission of creating financial, and general, gender equality.
Female Invest now hosts events for over 25,000 women and is the largest financial educator in Northern Europe, with the business planning to go predominantly online following the success of their online programs throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, some would find it hard to believe that Anna is still faced with prejudices 7 years on from the start of her investing journey. Some of these prejudices are as ludicrous as “not knowing anything about the area” or being sarcastically referred to as an “expert” by others in the sector.
Moreover, the prejudices often extend further than these comments, Anna explained:
“We are often faced with different prejudices, and I think we are measured differently, and then I think there will always be, at least for now, a sense of the old boys club when it comes to finance.”
No more than anything, this shows to me that the problems of male dominance and strong traditionalism in the financial world are still rife, and that there is a long way to go in the fight for gender equality.
Despite the difficulties of being a woman in the world of investing, Anna has found some positives from her situation, something that has helped her and her team to continue their drive.
“I think the benefits are that we are being noticed more because there aren’t many of us”.
This is, of course, a positive for the team, but even if the area was balanced, there’s no doubt that their passionate work would make them stand out in an extremely professional environment.
One of the most important things about their business is that despite the knockbacks and inequalities faced trying to break the norms of the “old boys club” – as Anna describes it, the team has a fierce ability to stick to their guns and not sacrifice who they are or what they’re fighting for in order to fit in. Their positive work will also hopefully inspire more women to get out there and fight to financially empower women and enable them to take a greater responsibility in their life.
So how can we fight to overcome this gender inequality?
According to Anna’s expertise, it is all about female empowerment, and it starts with wealth management.
“The way they (women) manage their money actually has a larger impact on their lifetime wealth than the gender pay-gap does. (…) One of the only things women can change today themselves is to take charge of their money”.
Clearly, Anna underlines how the power of managing your own finances should never be underestimated. It is a fantastic and manageable place to start which, according to the co-founder of Female Invest, can lead to greater female empowerment. This message is also clearly reflected in the future plans for her and the business.
“I hope Female Invest can play a role in making financial education easily accessible to women around the world. (…) If we succeed in doing that then I think that we can impact gender equality globally. (…) More women […] will be able to take more charge of their own lives”.
The messages of female empowerment are extremely strong and the world will certainly be a stronger place with Female Invest and their dedication to fighting for gender equality.
- When did you first notice the gap in equality between genders?
- Which sectors do you see gender inequality greatest in?
- Can wealth management lead to a better chance of gender equality?