Female Invest Narrows the Gender Investing Gap Through Information, Education, and Community

Female Invest Narrows The Gender Investing Gap

In a Nutshell: Despite patchy progress toward gender social equality since the 1960s, a yawning gender investing gap persists. Three female business students decided to do something about it after they learned they faced the same challenges and inequities independently. Female Invest uses the power of information, education, and community to narrow gender disparities in business leadership, investing, income, consumer influence, and financial independence. Female Invest welcomes all who seek to shift the tides of power and take control of their financial future.

Different parts of the world have rectified social and cultural gender disparities at different rates. While the amber of patriarchy traps many women worldwide, there’s no doubt that some, especially those living in developed nations, enjoy something approaching social and cultural equality.

But all bets are off when it comes to money. Everywhere you look, the financial world remains a bastion of traditionalism. Because dealmaking is often relationship-based, men continue to run the show while women remain on the periphery.

For example, only about 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. According to the World Economic Forum, women founders received about 2% of venture capital funding in 2022. And women earn around 37% less than men in similar roles globally, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021.

Female Invest logo

Those were the realities three female students faced as they got to know each other at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. They quickly bonded over discussions about their passion for investing and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) roadblocks they faced in the financial world.

They realized that women globally needed information, education, and community resources targeted to their specific concerns to tap into the potential of their inherent economic power and change the world for the better. Female Invest is the result.

Female Invest is a platform for anyone who seeks to challenge the financial status quo and its patriarchal origins. Content, coursework, and community features create a finance universe that’s shifting the tides of power.

“We live in a world where women manage the majority of spending power,” said Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, who co-founded Female Invest in 2020 with Emma Due Bitz and Camilla Cloëtta Falkenberg. “But because the financial industry was built by and for men, women aren’t represented in positions of power and don’t engage with it. That’s the gap we’re trying to close.”

A Growing Platform Addresses Systemic Disparities

At the rate the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity is closing, we’ll need an estimated 267 years to even things out, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021.

Female Invest does its part by welcoming all who feel they deserve to be heard (not just women in the traditional gendered sense) and seeking to instill the skills and confidence they need to push through financial barriers.

Female Invest co-founders
Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen (right), with fellow Female Invest co-founders Camilla Cloëtta Falkenberg (left) and Emma Due Bitz.

The demand is there. Hartvigsen, Falkenberg, and Bitz initially started a small Facebook book club where women in the Nordic countries could share tips and tricks. More than 400 wanted to join on the first day.

The team started holding in-person events and partnering with big banks and financial institutions. Within the first two years, in-person events had reached more than 25,000 women in the Nordics. Events and webinars power much of the team’s outreach today.

“We decided it was time to either close it down or turn it into a company and see what we could make of it,” Hartvigsen said. “We had no money, network, or experience, but we had a community and built from there.”

Today, Female Invest has paying members in 110 countries. The co-founders have published three books, including the global bestseller “Girls Just Wanna Have Funds.” They’ve raised $12 million in VC funding, been recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and have a team of 35 full-time employees and offices in Denmark and the UK. Hartvigsen said Female Invest is the world’s largest financial educator targeting women.

“At least we’re talking more about the issue than ever before, but progress is happening quite slowly,” Hartvigsen said. “But there are things we can do for ourselves if we actively manage our money.”

Relatable Content for All Stages of the Financial Journey

The team established the UK office to tailor content to an English-speaking audience. Plans are underway to establish a US office and tailor content to an American audience.

Membership in Female Invest gives access to in-depth courses, bite-sized learning pieces, webinars delivered by expert speakers, live and on-demand market news updates, articles, worksheets, and community features.

The team produces all content in-house. Quality is paramount, so certified financial advisors oversee content creation. Communication is also crucial. The team strives to deliver information in a friendly manner, often by women, in terminology everyone can understand.

In-person book event
Hartvigsen, Falkenberg, and Due Bitz’s first book is an international best-seller.

“The best-kept secret of the financial industry is how simple investing actually is,” Hartvigsen said. “We make sure to communicate in words that everyone can understand instead of financial jargon, which in many ways is intended to obstruct.”

Hartvigsen attributed much of the platform’s success to its welcoming tone of voice. The content uses humor to lighten the tone and encourage engagement. Personal anecdotes and stories from community members make it accessible and relatable.

The idea is to shepherd participants from wherever they are at the start of their journey to wherever they want to go. There’s ample material on financial fundamentals for beginners, but graduated coursework allows users to progress and rewards accomplishment.

New content, including financial news, arrives daily to help people relate their learning to current events. Multiple webinars appear weekly with content for beginning and advanced participants. Certified financial advisors are always available to answer questions and provide clarifications.

Low-cost one-on-one financial coaching is available. The team has acquired a trading platform and launched a trading simulator. A full-fledged trading platform is in the works.

“If there’s something in the simulator you don’t understand, just click on the word and we explain it to you,” Hartvigsen said. “The biggest barrier for a lot of women is that they’re so afraid to make mistakes that they never make their first investment.”

Empowering All Who Seek to Change the Status Quo

As the platform grew in size, the team grew in awareness. Hartvigsen, Bitz, and Falkenberg contemplated rebranding Female Invest to embrace a modern nonbinary view. Ultimately, they decided to retain the original name but acknowledge contemporary gender realities and welcome everyone to the platform.

Meanwhile, “Girls Just Wanna Have (Impact) Funds,” the successor to the team’s original best-seller, explores how women can take the next step beyond acquisition and investing to making smarter decisions with money.

Hartvigsen said not just women but companies, communities, and society benefit when women have more money and more control over money. For example, women are more likely than men to support charitable causes and invest in their children and communities.

Hartvigsen also argues that women are proven to be more considerate consumers and investors, buying products and supporting companies that align with their values.

Closing the gender investment gap is a worthy goal, but so is deploying economic power to engineer global environmental healing and reduce systemic economic inequities. That’s where “Girls Just Wanna Have (Impact) Funds” comes in.

“If we as women want a seat at the table and want to be part of decision-making, realistically, it’s not going to happen at the top of governments, companies, or institutions,” Hartvigsen said. “But if we start using our money as power, we can change the world at rates we’ve never seen before.”

That means making intentional investment and purchasing decisions and supporting politicians who mesh with positivist goals for society and the economy. As Female Invest gathers steam for a US launch planned for 2025, Hartvigsen, Bitz, and Falkenberg let their community chart the direction they demand in the face of pushback from the status quo.

“The numbers, demand, and momentum speak for themselves,” Hartvigsen said. “The exciting opportunity to financially empower women holds so much potential for all of us.”