The gender gap in capital and wealth in Norway
In many areas, Norway has made great progress to achieve gender equality. Today, Norwegian girls and women have the same opportunities in education, health, economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, and survival. Usually, the focus on gender equality circles around topics such as income, general management positions, board representation, and political empowerment. However, true equality will be achieved when the differences in capital and wealth accumulation are subdued.
Norway Reports, in collaboration with Women Investor Network, analyzed the participation of women as shareholders and their behavior in capital markets to answer the following question: how much capital and wealth is held by Norwegian women?
Just in Oslo, men hold NOK 10.18 billion in shares while women hold just over NOK 4 billion. At a national level, 76.7% of the total capital wealth is held by men. Therefore, there are large opportunities to encourage women to partake in capital markets. With the appropriate support, encouragement, and training, women are highly capable of becoming more involved in investment activities and increase the profitability of their assets.
Women’s participation as shareholders and wealth accumulation
According to the data published by Statistics Norway, in 2019, women held only 30.7% of the total shares in private companies. The total amount female shareholders is less than half compared to the number of males holding equity in private company which, in turn, is reflected in a considerably lower number of female business angels. The differences in investment participation between women and men are much more noticeable compared to income disparities.
Furthermore, the number of male shareholders in private companies is experiencing an upward trend since 2011, increasing by 14.1% since then. In the case of women, the upward trend began in 2013 and grows at a slower rate. Since 2011, the number of women shareholders increased by 8.5%. Although the difference may not seem very large, it becomes highly significant if the number of shareholders is considered: since 2011, over 76,000 males became new shareholders but only 17,000 women acquired capital in private companies. Achieving gender equality in terms of capital accumulation may be one of Norway’s largest challenges.
In the case of equity capital instruments, the trends show similar situations. In both cases, male participation is more than twice as large in gross volume. There is a significantly lower participation of women, which may be correlated to lower wages, larger risk aversion, or a lack of financial culture and information about the capital market’s mechanisms since the ownership of capital instruments is highly pulverized among large number of shareholders.
The increase of male equity holders from 2018 to 2019 was almost three times larger than women. The lower participation of women as shareholders and the lower number of female equity capital instrument holders is reflected in wealth distribution. Despite of the differences in capital holding and behavior between men and women, numerous initiatives aiming to reduce this gap are being supported by the Norwegian government. Norway moves forward in gender equality, but there are still challenges to overcome.
To learn more about initiatives empowering women through investment training workshops, visit Women Investor Network
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