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Women Investors Outperform Men, According to Study | January 2022

According to Fidelity Investments’ Women and Investing Study, women investors outperform male investors. The study also revealed that 67 percent of women are now investing outside their retirement accounts, a hefty 50 percent jump from 2018. This may have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic which saw a surge in the personal saving rate.

Women investors continue to pose a significant opportunity for wealth management firms. Women control an estimated $20 trillion of the world’s wealth, and most women in major countries are the primary financial decision-makers over household assets.

Women Invest Differently Than Men

Women seem to have different priorities and strategies than men when it comes to investing. For example, women are less tolerant of risk. While this could mean women are missing out on future growth opportunities, a more cautious approach seems to have paid off so far. Women tend to buy and hold stocks for longer periods rather than engaging in frequent trading.

Women are Building Confidence

In the United States, women are as financially literate as men, but they are 44 percent less likely to consider themselves knowledgeable about finances, indicating a lack of confidence. This lack of confidence in their financial literacy is partially fueled by a lack of exposure to investing. This is likely to change, however, as 62 percent of women are eager to increase their knowledge of financial planning and investing over the next year.

Capturing this Valuable Segment

To attract women investors, financial advisors can offer an inclusive environment that welcomes questions and demonstrates transparency and concern for society. These advisors are more likely to earn the trust of women investors. For example, Robinhood, a financial services company, researched the barriers women face when investing their money. Based on its findings, the company made it easier to learn and understand investing techniques to attract this valuable segment.

In the Classroom

This article can be used to discuss investing and the stock market (Chapter 16: Financial Management and Securities Markets).

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think a buy-and-hold strategy has benefited women?
  2. Based on the study, why do you think women are less confident investors than men?
  3. How can wealth management firms attract women investors?

This article was developed with the support of Kelsey Reddick for and under the direction of Geoffrey Hirt, O.C. Ferrell, and Linda Ferrell.


Deloitte, "Women Investors A Critical and Growing Factor for Success in the Wealth Management Industry,"

Center for Talent Innovation, "Harnessing the Power of the Purse: Female Investors and Global Opportunities for Growth,"

Kate Dore, "Women Investors Are Still Outperforming Men, Study Finds," CNBC, October 11, 2021,

Veronica Dagher and Caitlin McCabe, "Robinhood Wants More Female Investors. So Does Everyone Else," The Wall Street Journal, January 7, 2021,

About the Author

Geoffrey A. Hirt of DePaul University previously taught at Texas Christian University and Illinois State University, where he was chairman of the Department of Finance and Law. At DePaul, he was chairman of the Finance Department from 1987 to 1997 and held the title of Mesirow Financial Fellow. He developed the MBA program in Hong Kong and served as director of international initiatives for the College of Business, supervising overseas programs in Hong Kong, Prague, and Bahrain, and was awarded the Spirit of St. Vincent DePaul award for his contributions to the university. Dr. Hirt directed the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) study program for the Investment Analysts Society of Chicago from 1987 to 2003. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Urbino in Italy, where he still maintains a relationship with the economics department. He received his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, his MBA at Miami University of Ohio, and his BA from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Profile Photo of Geoffrey A. Hirt