Updated: May 31, 2021
Behind the banking scene, a fast-growing community of Swiss-based women are attempting a financial revolution on social media. The discrepancy between the genders in terms of financial education was laid bare in a recent paper by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD.
The role of finance bloggers shouldn't be underestimated: they help banks and financial service providers to increase their customer base and point out what is missing in the world of finance in order to cater to women.
Although Switzerland is considered as one of the world's important financial hubs, education around personal finance (especially for women) is sorely missing. The article does a lovely job highlighting a few Swiss-based female bloggers who are trying to bring financial education to women and I am grateful to be counted among this group of knowledgeable women.
Each of these women brings a unique perspective and background to the topic of personal finance. Indeed, the common thread here is our desire to inspire others to learn and take responsibility for their personal finance.
In my own experience, sitting down with a banker to discuss my financial situation was never a pleasant experience. One of the times I was face to face with a personal banker was when my then husband and I went to a branch of a regional bank to open new bank accounts. And even then, the banker sitting across from us hardly addressed me; instead, he focused all of his attention on my partner, assuming that he would make all the financial decisions. Whenever I tried to ask a question or assert my own financial knowledge (by that time, I had worked in finance for a few years already), was just ignored or patronized.
I left that particular meeting quite shaken and annoyed for not standing up for myself (and disappointed as well at my partner for not doing the same). However, I brushed off this experience as just "this is how things are here, I guess". Now a bit older and wiser, I wouldn't have let this banker talk us into opening unnecessary, expensive accounts.
When talking to other female colleagues, this experience of being patronized or feeling intimidated by bankers, finds resonance. I think the premise that finfluencers can "point out what is missing in the world of finance in order to cater women" is a good premise. Most of us financial bloggers have created our blogs and platforms because of our very own pain points of not having had that guidance and knowledge at the start of our financial journey. Some of us have paid a dear price to learn some of these lessons and hope to pass them onto our readers and followers.
On the corporate side, some promising alternatives to traditional retail banking and investing services have sprung up that cater directly to women: most notably, US-based Ellevest, while here in Europe the scene is still quite young with Germany's Alice App and Switzerland's Fea Money both seeking funding. In addition, other Swiss start ups such as Yova, are promoting gender lens investing with an aim to earn financial returns and address gender disparities.
Banking and investment services such as Ellevest and Fea Money have realized that financial products as touted by traditional banks do not serve women. By that I mean, they've realized that financial advice (and therefore therefore their financial offering), is not gender-neutral. Women live longer, we get paid less and we get penalized for being (working) mums. Women-targeted banking and investing services aim to ameliorate this gap by accounting for such inequities by providing approachable access and gender-focused investment guidance.
Now, with both female bloggers and banking and investing apps that are more geared towards women, it's a fantastic time to start investing for one's future. I think having a spotlight on these incredible women as local financial role models, coupled with services that are geared towards women, gives women an opportunity to level the financial playing field.
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