Surveys show that men own roughly twice as much as women and this also means than men’s total capital gains in Swedish kronor are approximately twice the size of women’s. But this overall statistic does not show the whole picture. In a new survey, where SEB analysed changes in financial net capital gains (hereinafter referred to as capital gains) and looked at their own customers’ savings and investment behaviours, a different picture emerges. A picture that shows that women, although they invest to a far lesser extent than men, actually are more successful with their savings.
The survey focuses on the median value in savings since in contrast to average value this is not affected by any skewed distributions that may exist and has a lower number of very high values. The report authors chose to do this since it is still men who dominate in the top tier where those with the largest capital gains are found, which affects the average. By using the median value, you instead get a picture of how performance looks in a broader group of investors.
The survey shows that women’s median capital gains have been larger than men’s and that their losses have been smaller in every year between 2008 and 2019 except 2010 and 2015. In 2019, for example, the median value of capital gains was 17% higher among women than men. Data from SEB also shows that growth in women’s savings and investments during the period from 2007 until mid-2020 exceeds men’s and that women, both during the 2008 financial crisis and the stock market crash in spring 2020, lost less money than men.
“Although there are still fewer women than men who invest and therefore have capital gains, we can see that women are more successful, have a higher growth rate and manage crises better. We hope that this will help raise self-confidence and inspire more women to start to invest,” says Emma Heikensten, who works at SEB and authored the report.
Even if women at the median succeed better than men, there are still fewer women who have capital gains – of those of invest 43% are women and 57% men. Women’s capital gains are also generally lower than men’s in terms of totals and averages. In 2019, for example, women’s share of total capital gains in Sweden was 26%.
“The fact that fewer women have capital gains and that their total gains are lower than men’s is not unexpected given the norms, societal structure and our history. Over time, for example, women have not enjoyed the same rights as men regarding access to financial services. This, combined with factors such as a segregated labour market, differences in household work and access to social and professional networks, interacts and still affects women’s opportunities to invest,” says Emma Heikensten.
“At the same time, savings and investments are important from an equality perspective. Unequal ownership contributes to an unequal economy. Having access to savings capital also provides autonomy and security through life and an opportunity to leave bad relationships – both private and relationships with an employer,” says Emma Heikensten.