Increasingly, women make the majority of buying decisions in an ever-expanding range of sectors. In fact,  a whopping 80% of consumer goods  purchasing decisions are in the hands of women. 

Do you want and need more women to invest in your ideas, your products, or your services? 

If so, understand that:

  1. Women want to invest in causes and concerns that matter to them 
  2. Women prefer to communicate via real-life stories 
  3. Women will take risks, but only calculated risks 

Women want to invest in causes and concerns that matter to them 

In 2013, I interviewed 100 accomplished women around the world and asked them how they were investing their money. At least half told me they were spending some portion of their potential retirement funds on what matters to them now rather than investing in traditional longer-term asset classes. In fact, 25% said they were investing a sizeable portion of their wealth in a business that was directly related to their personal cause. In subsequent years, I conducted commissioned research on the same topic for various banks both in Canada and globally, and this finding was confirmed across the board. 

What are the main causes and concerns that matter to women? Ideas that will benefit society as a whole by promoting health, children’s welfare, gender equality, the environment, or other forms of social justice. Women want to act and do something about today’s issues.  

Women prefer to communicate via real-life stories 

From my interviews, nearly all women favor stories about people rather than charts and graphs. Women are more inclined to share real-life issues and situations with their close friends and the next generation: Family life is central. Women tend to talk about money matters in more grounded ways, with a view to how a financial situation or an investment is likely to affect their family and their lifestyle. 

Jessica Robinson is the Founder and Managing Director of Moxie Future, an inspirational and educational platform for women and investors: 

“I’ve been working in the financial services area of sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) for the last decade or so. Women seem to have a level of engagement and motivation that is about much more than just financial return. I know that women prefer to make decisions by conferring with one another, so peer-to-peer interaction is important.” 

Women take calculated risks 

In my 2019 Rich Thinking® Global Quantitative Survey I asked: “How would you best describe your tolerance for risk?” Fewer than one in 10 women said they were risk averse, while nearly three quarters said they were risk aware, not risk averse. And about 16% self-identified as risk takers and said they had no problem with risk at all. 

Whether it’s investing in a new venture or the stock market, as long as a woman is interested and an opportunity is aligned with her personal causes and concerns, she will be motivated to take a risk. She might take more time to make an investment decision, but that’s because she does her homework. Once she has delved into the details to her satisfaction, she will take calculated risks and invest. 

Today, we have a powerful combination of digital tools and motivated women with a high tolerance for risk. Whether they are driven by an opportunity in the market, self-actualization, or working for the greater good, women are taking risk and acting. Want to sell something to a woman? It will definitely pay to be a good storyteller! 

Barbara Stewart, CFA is one of the world’s leading researchers on women and finance, focusing on real life financial behaviours and providing global insights into how smart women think and communicate. Barbara is an advocate for women, for diversity, and for financial education. In addition to her Rich Thinking® research, Barbara uses her proprietary research skills to work as an Executive Interviewer on a project basis for global financial institutions seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their key stakeholders, both women and men. Barbara is a frequent interview guest on TV, radio and print, both financial and general interest. She is a contributor to the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor website. For more information about Barbara’s research, please see