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Trading: Not a woman’s business?

Women in Trading: Debunking Stereotypes

How often do you find yourself prejudiced and thinking stereotypically? Don’t rush to answer.

And even more so, don’t get defensive and consider this question as some kind of a personal attack. This is not a test of your compliance with the global trends of our generation and modern views but rather an invitation to reflection.

We all make big life decisions, such as choosing a college major or a perfect career, based on our own beliefs and perception of ourselves. Do we know ourselves well? Is this knowledge and perception objective? Are you sure those beliefs are truly yours and not the result of looking at the world through the prism of stereotypes?

The Power of Prejudice

In her paper, Katherine B. Coffman, assistant professor at Harvard Business School, shared the results of her research on gender stereotypes and how they distort our perception and affect the way we view ourselves and others.

Multiple experiments carried out as part of this study confirmed that women are reluctant to pursue certain careers simply because men are stereotypically believed to be more successful in them. We’re talking about such fields as science, math, and technology.

The research shows that women have weak self-confidence and need more social support. This may hold some women back as they shy away from prestigious careers they believe they won’t excel in, without even trying. At the same time, women who have talent in “male-dominated” professions tend to question their abilities and don’t give themselves enough credit.

Coffman summed up her research, noting that: “Until we can change these stereotypes, it’s essential to think about how we can better inoculate individuals from biases induced by stereotypes, helping people to pursue fulfilling careers in the areas where their passions and talents lie.”

Women are not a statistical error

It is widely believed that there are very few female traders in the foreign exchange market. However, research shows that more and more women have become interested in trading and investing.

Today, every fifth trader is a woman.

To make this 1:5 ratio more comprehensible, let’s put it in numerical terms:
Of 77,296,000 (or 1.017%) traders, 15,459,000 are women.

But just some 50 years ago, there were only a few female traders. In the 60s, the world of finance could only offer a woman a job as a secretary. A degree in business and talent didn’t matter. The story of Geraldine Weiss, nicknamed the Grand Dame of Dividends, vividly illustrates how a woman with a degree in finance can still be treated by employers as “secretarial material” only.

Analysts expect the number of traders to increase to 2% in the next 3-5 years, while the number of female traders will exceed 30,000,000.

20% of women cannot be a statistical error. The stereotype that women can’t be successful traders is being shattered. Women will keep paving their way into the world of trading and make it “their own”, contrary to prejudice. This path will be unique and different for each woman, but there are still a few common stages:

  1. Refusal to perceive yourself and your abilities based on bias and stereotypes.
  2. Taking full responsibility for the result.

True, trading is a “male-dominated” environment. But you are not accepted into traders based on your gender.

And yes, most brokers do target male audiences when launching their advertising campaigns and promotions, but their trading conditions and offers are equal for everyone.

If you have valuable knowledge and experience – start acting! Or better – master your trading skills on a demo account first, like the legendary Karen Foo.

And remember – the only objective measure of your talent in trading is your performance and financial result, i.e., the amount of money earned.