Q&A / FINANCIAL EQUALITY

”We’re teaching women everything they need to know to get the most out of their money”

ANNA-SOPHIE HARTVIGSEN
On the importance of educating women on investing
April 19, 2021

Hartvigsen tells that even though she doesn’t come from a background where this is normal, she started investing when she was 19 years old.

— I, therefore, struggled to find information and like-minded — female — peers, she tells. 

Since then, she’s worked with investing in London, co-authored a bestselling book on how to get started, and co-founded Female Invest — Europe’s leading financial educator made by women for women. Last year, Hartvigsen became a Cartier Women’s Initiative Laureate for her work educating women on investing and personal finances through Female Invest’s online learning platform.

— We’re teaching them everything they need to know to get the most out of their money, she says.

What’s the current situation in the world when it comes to female investments?

— There are 195 countries in the world, and not a single one has achieved financial gender equality. In Europe, women currently retire with 35% less money than men. While there are many systemic factors impacting this number — pay discrimination, glass ceiling in the corporate world, and more — investing also plays a big part. Looking at financial markets, women are underrepresented in every country. However, research consistently show that they outperform men once they get started, and that women achieve better average returns.

And why is it so important to make it more equal?

— Financial equality is a prerequisite for equality in all areas of life, Hartvigsen states. It allows you to make independent decisions and live life on your own terms. Therefore, true gender equality will not be achieved anywhere before financial gender equality is given. 

How has the pandemic changed how you work?

— Before Corona, we mainly hosted physical events in which more than 25,000 women participated in. However, this wasn’t scalable enough and we were unable to meet the rapidly increasing demand. Therefore, we launched a subscription-based e-learning platform right before Corona hit, which we then scaled even faster as a result of Covid, which forced us to go 100% digital faster than we had planned. This was a large challenge, as it changed our entire business model overnight. 

Is Scandinavia better or worse than the rest of the world when it comes to female investment? 

— When it comes to financial gender equality, not a single country in the world has come close to achieving it. In Scandinavia, we are generally ahead in all areas of gender equality, which is also seen in the area of financial gender equality. However, this does not mean that we are anywhere near having closed the gap, nor that we are moving at a fast pace.

— We currently have members in 56 countries, which has happened through organic growth. Now, we will start entering specific markets strategically with larger efforts, starting with the UK and then moving on to Norway and Sweden, Hartvigsen concludes.

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