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Do Women Invest Differently?

On the five-year anniversary of WIN-WIN, we use our investor survey findings to explore whether women invest differently than men.


This year, our CEO Jenn Pryce and I are celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) in Nairobi, Kenya. We are on a ten-day trip visiting our borrowers in the field, and look forward to sharing more details from our trip with you in the weeks to come.

As we spend this IWD with our borrowers, we are also thinking of another critical group of people: our investors.

Ellen on her interest in Calvert Foundation's gender equity work.

When we launched our Women Investing in Women Initiative (WIN-WIN) five years ago, we had some investor-related theories that we hoped the initiative would address. Are women more likely to be interested in gender-lens investing? Do women invest differently? Do women care about different social or environmental issues?

In the spring of 2016, we surveyed our current and past investors on a number of topics including their demographic information, financial decision-making processes, and issues of interest in order to better understand their attitudes and behaviors towards investing.

While the survey represents a small sample of our overall individiual investor community’s attitudes and behaviors, here are a few findings we found interesting.

Hypothesis 1: Women are more likely to invest for impact

Survey Result: We found this to be slightly the case, in that 29% of women have more than one third of their portfolio invested for impact, vs. only 20% of men. This also aligns with a finding in our Gateways-to-Impact study showing stronger interest in sustainable investments among female advisors.

Hypothesis 2: Both women and men care about investing in gender equity

Survey Result: Among our female survey respondents, women’s empowerment was the most popular issue out of the options presented (including healthcare, environment, education, and so on). 76% of women said that women’s empowerment was important to them. While women’s empowerment was not as popular among men, almost half (49%) reported it was important to them.

Hypothesis 3: Investment decisions are a family matter for women

Survey Result: Women are known to reinvest higher rates of their capital for the benefit of their family, but they are also known to leverage their families’ expertise in making investment decisions. Our survey shows that 16% of women consulted a family member before investing in a Community Investment Note, vs. 6% of men.

Throughout 2017, we will be diving deeper into the five years of data we now have for WIN-WIN, analyzing our portfolio data and investor information, sharing lessons learned, and using this to help inform the next iteration of our work for gender equity.

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for updates and check out our gender equity page for more about our strategy.