A Need On Campus
A History concentrator who was a then-junior at Harvard told us, "I was really excited to hear about SWS, because I have always been interested in investing but felt that the opportunities at Harvard were probably over my head. I'm interested in investing because when I'm older, I want to be a financially independent woman. I think our generation is on the cutting edge of a fundamental change in women's economic awareness....I'd like to see self-made women topping the Forbes. I do believe that it's possible to balance personal success, family life, financial freedom, and all the other pressures there are on women. I want to learn to invest so that my money can work for me and bear part of that load."
We heard similar stories from other women who wanted to learn about investing, whether it be for personal reasons or as part of professional goals. Some wanted to emulate their mothers, their female role models who had become the breadwinner in their families. Some wanted to be able to hold conversations with their brothers and dads in finance. Some had struggled through financial hardships in the past and wanted to learn about investing for their future. Some just simply wanted to learn something new.
The Right Time To Start Learning
SWS was formed to create an opportunity for women to learn more about investing in the financial markets. We believe that targeting college women is the key to promoting investment education for women everywhere. As Smith College Professor Mahnaz Mahdavi commented, "College is the right time for people to start thinking about this. It's the first time the majority of people become independent, move away from home. Even if their parents are giving them money, they're the ones who have to manage it." ("What Advisors Should Know About Women Investors", Securities Data Publishing, Jan. 2004 )
Furthermore, by targeting women, SWS seeks to reverse the trend of women who lack sufficient knowledge about investing and the financial markets. Research has shown that even though the majority of women would have to manage their own finances at some point in the future, most women do not feel comfortable investing. Women tend, overall, to be less confident in investing than men.