The JSE is actively encouraging and supporting female investors


Innumerable global studies indicate that women don’t invest enough; that they tend to keep most of their wealth in savings accounts that typically realise small growth. One of the reasons touted for this behaviour is that women continue to struggle with a gender salary gap, and the resulting chain effect translates into an even bigger gender wealth gap.

‘If women are to close this gap, they need to understand that investing is crucial for growing wealth,’ according to Pheliswa Mayekiso, Head of Group Communications at the JSE. ‘This is one of the reasons that the JSE created #SheInvests in 2018 as one of its initiatives to change the relationship that South Africans have with money, and to increase awareness of the JSE and its product offering.

‘#SheInvests is particularly pertinent to this directive as SA women have been left out of investment conversations for too long.’

There are, of course, many other reasons that female participation in investment markets is sluggish, including legacy issues of women not qualifying for credit cards without the permission of their husbands, or being taught to depend on husbands for the family financial health.

The new generation of women has, however, changed those scenarios, which is why #SheInvests is so relevant in current times, particularly in the wake of COVID, which saw many families tap into their savings and investments to stay afloat.

‘COVID has really highlighted the need for a financial safety net,’ says Mayekiso. ‘This is where the real value of #SheInvests is to be found. At the baseline is the drive to motivate and empower women to take control of their investment journey by introducing practical ways to take ownership of the market.

‘We do this through the quality of our speakers at the event, which include brokers, FSPs and listed companies that can actively help our female attendees open the right accounts for their needs, and thereafter start their investment journeys.’

#SheInvests is a proven formula, as many of the attendees return year on year, reporting that they have begun investing. ‘In fact, the conversation often turns to how to expand a portfolio instead of where to start, which is very encouraging,’ says Mayekiso.

‘One such example is that of one of our previous winners, whose prize was an investment voucher from a sponsoring broker, has retained that investment, which is growing into a comfortable portfolio.’

This year the event is themed Fearlessly Owning the Markets, which is pertinent in current times, where fears of economic distress amid rising fuel costs as well as interest rates, and so on, are forcing families to reconsider where their savings will make a bigger impact.

‘For this event we want our audience to be confident in “owning” the market. We want to boost this confidence and inspire women to not be intimidated by the investment arena. All are welcome and will find the array of speakers very receptive to questions because they take a hands-on approach,’ says Mayekiso.

‘If we can motivate for women to take control of their own investment journey through #SheInvests, we are confident it will create a ripple effect throughout the generations to follow and enable all South Africans to own the stock market.’

By Kerry Dimmer
Images: Gallo/Getty Images