Launch of New Women’s Financial Education Program – wInvest Backed by Australia’s Largest Independent Investor Association – ASA 

March 8, 2021


Australia’s largest independent investor association, the Australian  Shareholders’ Association (ASA) is delighted to announce the launch of a new education  program for women’s financial empowerment – wInvest – this International Women’s Day. 

ASA’s mission is to educate investors and give retail shareholders a voice. ASA has created  wInvest as a dedicated resource to help women of all ages start their investment journey to  build confidence and participate in financial decision-making. wInvest is an ASA group for  women that includes webinars, meetings and online courses. It aims to enable women to  become inspired, empowered and improve their financial literacy through investing in  themselves. 

wInvest to provide national education solution for women  

Financial inequality is a problem and wInvest has been created to contribute to the solution.  Women typically earn less than their male counterparts. Their economic progress is  hindered by factors such as playing a larger role in unpaid domestic labour, divorce rates and facing larger child-minding responsibilities than fathers. Tragically, women over the age  of 55 are the group most at risk of homelessness in Australia, largely due to poor financial  literacy and minimal financial empowerment.  

While ASA believes women of all ages need to be financially empowered, it sees a growing  need to reverse the statistics for two main groups. Firstly, as women tend to outlive men,  widows are a silent group that face problems when inheriting wealth from their late  partner. With minimal financial knowledge they face struggles with how to manage their  new wealth effectively, for both them and their family. Secondly, women who have retired  and didn’t prioritise investing and financial education in their youth need to establish  financial stability.   

IWD launch highlights how ASA #ChooseToChallenge 

ASA has chosen International Women’s Day (IWD) to launch wInvest as the day marks a call  to action for accelerating women’s equality. This year, IWD highlights how we as a society  #ChooseToChallenge and says, “From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to  challenge”. wInvest is challenging the inequality that exists between male and female  literacy and choosing to empower women through independent education.  

New report shows Aussie women’s financial progress goes backwards Today’s launch also comes on the same day as the Financy Women’s Index has reported women’s financial progress continued to be hindered in the December quarter (Q4 2020).  Financy measures women’s progress and economic equality in Australia and has shown  women face a more challenging task of achieving financial equality with men as the  Coronavirus distorts trends in employment and wages, while also exposing underlying  structural problems holding back progress. 

  • The timeframe to gender financial equality increased to a revised 101 years, due to a  widening in the gender gap in unpaid work 
  • While year-on-year the Index shows women did make financial progress in 2020,  momentum collapsed in the December quarter (-3%) due to a combined widening of the  gender gaps in the underemployment rate, employment, unpaid work and education. · In better news, the gender gap on ASX 200 company boards improved as the number of  female directors rose to a fresh high.  
  • The gender pay gap also improved to 13.4% in November, down from 14% in May,  although caution must be exercised as this could unwind because of COVID-19 related  distortions. 
  • The gender gap in average superannuation savings stands at 29.1% with men holding  higher average balances. 

Australian Shareholders’ Association, Chief Executive Officer John Cowling said: “ASA’s  core mission is helping individual investors on their investment journey through education  and wInvest is a natural extension of this mission. The foundations of wInvest came through  a Financial Literacy grant from the Ecstra Foundation who recognise the importance of  empowering women through education. ASA is proud to have deployed these funds to a  comprehensive educational program, Own Your Financial Future, aimed at women over 55  and encompassing workshops, videos, webinars, and online groups. We hope the assets will  continue to increase financial literacy for all women around Australia of whatever age.”  

Australian Shareholders’ Association, Director Lelde Smits said: “As a woman working in  the Australian finance industry I come across gender and financial inequality daily. Educating  women enables women to become empowered and tackle this inequality head-on. As a  newly appointed female Director to ASA, I am inspired by the board’s commitment to  empowering women and the launch of Winvest. I’m excited about the independent  education wInvest will offer women around Australia and hope more women are inspired to invest in themselves and their future.” 

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