TimeOut Dubai | What is financial feminism? 830 553 Moxie Future

TimeOut Dubai | What is financial feminism?

UAE-based author Jessica Robinson talks financial feminism and why we should all be investing for a sustainable future

So, you’ve heard of the gender pay gap, but have you heard of the gender investing gap?

We chat to Jessica Robinson, author of Financial Feminism: A Woman’s Guide to Investing for a Sustainable Future about financial feminism, sustainable investing, and why women should be using their wealth to change the world.

Proving that investing isn’t just for Wall Street millionaires, the UAE-based author’s book offers a step-by-step guide to sustainable investing for women, no matter their investing experience.

So, what is financial feminism?

As with all things related to feminism, financial feminism is about the financial equality of women.

Women all over the world face a whole range of financially-related gaps – for example, the well-known gender pay gap whereby women earn on average 80 percent of what men in comparative positions earn.

But women face other gaps too – including the female funding gap whereby women entrepreneurs raise much less capital to grow their businesses, as well as the gender investing gap whereby women are putting less into investment products and saving more in cash. And the result? Financial short flows as they get older.

However, financial feminism is more than women simply earning and investing on a par with men. Financial feminism is also about empowering women to use money and their wealth to push for positive change in the world. It’s about women investing in companies and sectors that are aligned with their vision for the world and it’s about women becoming sustainable investors.

Okay, so we’ve covered financial feminism but what’s sustainable investing all about?

Historically, investment has been focused on investing capital for the purpose of increasing financial returns at some point in the future. However, fundamental shifts have been underway for a number of years whereby more and more people are now seeking returns beyond just financial gains. Today many people now look to achieve positive returns on people and the planet when they invest in a company, fund, or sector.

This, in a nutshell, is sustainable investing.

The sustainable investor considers non-financial returns alongside financial returns, seeking positive impacts on society and the environment at the same time as a profit. The sustainable investor uses their money and investment decisions to achieve some kind of gain, invariably with a societal or environmental angle, or quite often both. To be sure, sustainable investing is not philanthropy or charity – it is certainly not about forgoing financial returns – rather, seeking returns beyond the bottom line.

But can men and women both be financial feminists?

Anyone can be a feminist – and anyone can be a financial feminist. We all benefit from living in a more equitable world and we all need to work together to get there. Momentum is gathering behind financial feminism because people recognise the urgent call to address the glaring gaps that many women face.

At the same time, both women and men can be sustainable investors. In fact, we need everyone to be.

Is sustainable investing the way forward?

When the COVID-pandemic hit in early 2020, there was concern about what this would mean for sustainable investing’s trajectory – supporters were worried that it may mean a return to short-term thinking and focus on financial profits only. However, the good news is that hasn’t happened – in fact, quite the opposite. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on how interconnected we are and yet the glaring inequalities we face. Demand for sustainable investing is now on the rise.

It’s the only way forward because money and financial markets sit at the heart of how we solve global challenges like climate change. The scale of action needed means that we need to make changes in all aspects of our lives, and not just as consumers. As we transition to a low-carbon future, we need massive amounts of capital to get there. But more than that – we need financial systems that reflect our values and priorities – and this is why all investments will be sustainable investments in the future.

Financial gain aside, what other perks are there to sustainable investing?

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen that companies with good sustainability business strategies perform better. It’s the same with investment funds that consider sustainability at the core of their holdings. The financial returns are certainly there. But there are other perks, too. Sustainable investing is about empowerment – empowering women, and men, to make conscious decisions about the kind of world they want to live in.

Sustainable investing also allows the investor to focus on issues that are a priority to them, to really direct their money towards these concerns. For example, investors worried about environmental degradation or climate change can seek out companies and funds in clean-tech or renewables or climate solutions.

For investors wanting to do more on gender diversity, they can look for funds that support female entrepreneurs and invest with a gender-lens, working towards supporting women as business owners.

Financial Feminism: A Woman’s Guide to Investing for a Sustainable Future is now on sale. Visit www.moxiefuture.com/financial-feminism-book for more.

 


ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON TIMEOUT AND REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION.

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