If you asked the average person about trading in the financial markets, it would probably look something like this: wide shot of New York, pan to a 30-story skyscraper, zoom in on a raucous trading floor teeming with men in expensive suits, who go home in fancy cars to their country-club mansions.
If they’re lucky, women might get a look in as wives or assistants.
While most people’s minds jump to these scenes of a bygone era from movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short, today’s reality is finally seeing ‘wives and assistants’ begin to take centre stage.
A report by Modern Trader in 2018 found that around one in five online traders worldwide are women, an upward trend largely driven by women in Asia. The majority of traders earn a modest household income of less than USD $50k per year, and less than 5% actually live in a major financial city.
This rise in the popularity of trading has been assisted by the digital decentralisation of trading via easy-to-use online platforms, which has brought about a more equitable, accessible playing field. It’s yet another trend that has been cemented by the pandemic, which rendered open outcry and over-the-phone trading increasingly unviable.
And while trading preferences among women largely follow those of men – with forex trading, day trading and CFD trading continuing to earn top spots, alongside increasing interest in crypto – women are making their own mark on the industry.
Women traders remain more risk averse
Women traders show more interest in spread betting, investing, social trading and binary options. Additionally, recent studies have shown them to be more risk-averse – to their benefit – derailing the rose-tinted narrative of hard-won success from aggressive trading strategies and hyper-confidence.
If women’s trading skills do indeed result in them outperforming men, these hobby traders could start a wave of women in senior leadership in financial markets – as investment advisors, hedge fund managers and the like.
It’s exciting to see how far female traders have come in such a short space of time and equally exciting to see how far we’ve yet to go. The ratio of female traders is likely to increase, but they won’t achieve it alone.
It’s the image we need to change. Those who are already trading should be vocal about trading to their friends, sharing their positive online trading results and prompting other women to sign up.
Not just a boys’ club
There’s also a responsibility on women in senior leadership positions to increase their public presence and encourage women to look at trading as a not just a ‘boys club’. Similarly, female brokers should also see the opportunity available for engaging female traders and increasingly target this market, leading to continued growth for the sector.
Building a community and sharing knowledge is essential for newcomers in a man’s world, where men are statistically more likely to mentor other men. As more women trade, we must come together to share learning and improve outcomes for all. This will cause a snowball effect that will not only empower women but also promote gender equality across financial services and technology.
There are so many milestones yet to be achieved and plenty of spaces for female traders to make a name for themselves in the history books – maybe even in the movies.
Jekaterina Pedosa is Chief Executive Officer of Dualix Maxigrid. She is a results driven CEO with over eight years’ experience within offshore investment and broking firms, in various positions.