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International Women's Day (IWD) is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. Marked annually on March 8th, IWD is one of the most important days of the year to:
- Celebrate women's achievements
- Raise awareness about women's equality
- Lobby for accelerated gender parity
- Fundraise for female-focused charities
This year, the IWD 2022 theme is: #BreakTheBias
Imagine a gender equal world
- A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination
- A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive
- A world where difference is valued and celebrated
- Together we can forge women's equality
- Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias
Progress has been made – but there is still a long way to go
While women have made monumental strides toward equality, particularly in the past decade, there is still a long way to go. Part of the challenge includes several longstanding myths surrounding women and finance which unfortunately continues to support inequality.
In an effort to shed some light and debunk some of these myths, we chatted with Ingrid Macintosh, Vice President, Wealth, Head of Sales Enablement and Client Portfolio Management and Executive Sponsor, TD Wealth for Women. During our conversation, Ingrid provided her thoughts about women and money and the truth behind what she feels are the top 3 myths on the relationship between the two.
Myth #1: Women need more help than men when it comes to managing their money
We are often told that women lack the necessary knowledge when it comes to managing money or making important financial decisions. This has been the case for a very long time. Why is the perseverance of this myth so strong?
"Often times, I think we are our own worst enemy and that this myth persists because women generally believe it themselves. This perception, in my opinion, is highly correlated with a lack of confidence. Time and time again I see bright and accomplished women – experts in their fields – still question themselves and their knowledge with a persistent fear of not knowing enough. The downstream impact of a lack of confidence, is a lack of engagement which leads longer term to poorer outcomes. As the Financial institution that leads with the promise of confidence, we have a role in doing more to change this narrative, but ultimately women also need to take steps to engage more fully in the dialogue. We are moving in the right direction, but improved confidence has to come from within in order to put this myth to bed once and for all."
Myth #2: Women are more risk averse
There is a longstanding notion that women are more risk averse than men. Is this a fair assumption?
"While it may be true that women traditionally have less money in investment accounts than men, it's not a safe assumption that it is because of an increased aversion to risk. Women however can more appropriately be defined as "risk aware" and may focus on achieving financial security, versus on the individual returns of investments. They are also nearly two times more likely than men to consider both the suitability of an investment as well as the positive environmental, social and governance impacts of the firm(s) behind it¹. While the ability to take on risk is an important factor when it comes to investment success, patience is also a key attribute. This bodes well for women as they are usually seen as more patient than men."
Myth #3: Women are not interested in investing
This seems like a blanket assumption and an easy myth to dispel. But why does it exist in the first place?
"This is actually one of the more frustrating misconceptions I find about women and investing, and I feel that this myth stems from a lack of understanding on how many women display or may engage in a topic – particularly finances. I believe that, often times, when women appear uninterested it's not because of the topic at hand, but the way it is being communicated. Investment conversations can be very technical and jargon laden, whereas women may prefer to discuss investments in terms of how the outcome can impact their family." A woman's interest in investment conversations also tends to fluctuate through life cycles, with less focus during periods such as motherhood, when a woman's focus is shifted from themselves to their children, limiting the focus on longer term activities such as financial planning. It is important for us to recognize these factors to best serve women."
The TD commitment
As each day passes, women are gaining more and more financial independence and recognition. TD is committed to providing support and opportunities to women as valued colleagues, clients, and communities. For more information, please visit the TD Wealth for Women website.
¹RIA: Millennials, Women, and the Future of Responsible Investing, April 2016.
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