To be brief, after years in the corporate world I took up the study of sociology and through this study have come up with a number of different ways to approach some of the more common and traditional problems that we have in society, particularly in regards to women’s advancement.
Through my studies I have discovered what I call Gender Economics which looks at uncovering the way that economic policy is formulated and exposing some of the myths and assumptions which are often largely gender stereotypical, many no longer relevant in today’s society. The more I looked into this the more I understood that we needed to look at current gender issues differently and work out different ways to address them, hence Gender Economics and now the Centre for Gender Economics.
Tired of the constant talk about getting women on boards and noticing that the talk didn’t seem to be shifting things too much, I started the Female Investor Network (FiiN) which is still in its infancy, but looking to launch early in 2014. I started FiiN because it occurred to me that the best way to get women into leadership roles and into positions of influence is to encourage them to invest in emerging companies, to learn the ropes and negotiate a place on the board. Not all women want this of course and many that I have interviewed, just want to have more knowledge about the way financial systems work – heck this underpins much of the decision making in our society and women need to be part of it. FiiN (Female influencing and investment network) will start helping women to invest in emerging companies, but not just those that are founded or lead by women like many female angel organisations. In my view, this only serves to isolate women further from the action – so FiiN will help women to invest in any company that has the right culture and intent to embrace diversity.
Then, it is my aim to harness at least $100 million dollars in a fund to reinvest, but with a difference. This time we will use disruptive strategies to target and take over major shareholdings of companies that continue to degrade women’s rights. This is what men have been doing for centuries, ‘taking out the competition’ and I think that women can learn from these strategies and implement them in a slightly different fashion.
To me, Female Investment is a subset of Gender Economics and as such it is included as a stream in the international conference I am organising for June 2014 in Sydney. You can see more about the conference here.
So what we need from you,
1) FiiN needs a powerful Patron and supporter that is well connected to the top power brokers in major corporate so we can attract funding from women who want to see real change, and
2) Ask for your support in recommending sponsorship for FiiN so we can get women involved and aware of financial decision making options.
FiiN will not be like many investment clubs that just cater for the sophisticated investor – my research has shown that many of these women who may currently be in senior corporate roles still don’t know the basics of reading balance sheets and many just don’t have the practical experience of owning a company and are therefore discounted by many boards looking to fill gender balance targets. In addition, FiiN is not just interested in furthering the financial future of high income women, the way to see real change is to empower all women with the knowledge of how business works and give them the tools to influence the pathways of their own lives.
Without equipping women with the confidence and the tools to manage their financial future, we will continue to force many into poverty as they age and find themselves without sufficient superannuation to support them in their older age. Apart from being a drain on the economy, this is a human rights issue with many women (and men) stuck in no where land – too young to get to their superannuation and living on unemployment benefits and too old to be considered for a job. It is the generation of women now in their 50’s that are going to suffer the most with average superannuation payouts under $100k, hardly enough to support them for the rest of their lives! The issue doesn’t stop there because the next generation of women have not learnt the skills of financial management early enough to have substantial impact on their own superannuation, and many younger women don’t think that it will ever happen to them so don’t yet have a mindset that instils the behaviour to plan ahead with many still relying on marriage and a home to secure their retirement.
If you would like to know more about FiiN, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org