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Cwec/Cféc Blog

  • 28 May 2022 by Doriane Intungane

    Advancing women's equality in Canada isn’t just socially responsible; it would add CDN$150 billion to the GDP by 2026. On average, the GDP will grow by 6%, and every province will grow between 0.4% and 0.9% annually[1]. However, the low participation rate of women in some sectors, such as business ownership and investment in public and private financial markets, could slow down the advancement. Increasing women's sector mix and labor force participation are important drivers of an increased GDP. Recently, Shelley Kuipers, a financial leader and CO-CEO of the financial platform "The51", gave us a general overview of women's current and potential future participation in the capital market. She shared some strategies that have helped increase the number of women investing in the capital market and future goals for her organization[2]. The highlight of our conversation follows:

     

    Please present the work and your organization's goal. What inspired you to create such a platform for women in the capital market?

    Shelley: We are a financial platform explicitly inviting women and gender-diverse people to participate as early-stage investors in companies led or owned by women. The organization was named "The51" because women make up 51% of the population but only receive 2.2% of all venture capital globally. Our objective is to be influential financial innovators and build women's capacity – their financial understanding, literacy, and knowledge about investing, thereby building confident early-stage venture investors. Our goal is to activate CDN $2.5 billion of women's capital by 2030.

     

    What strategies do you use to increase women's participation in economic growth through capital investment?

    Shelley: We have developed an educational program called the Financial Feminism Investing Lab. There is an investor edition and a founder edition, so the lab offers catered, financial feminist, educational content for investors and founders respectively. It has everything to do with financial literacy, and knowledge about investing and building an early-stage venture with that financial wherewithal. Education is the first strategy; that's where we can tap into women's curiosity. We can help women to build confidence about all things financial, and then they can go out into the broader ecosystem and get activated. Some of them will get started with our organization. 

    Another strategy is giving women the space to have a conversation about the information or the wisdom that they don't yet have, and to access actual peer wisdom across their community. So, it's not about being the smartest in the room; it's about the collective intelligence and the collective wisdom across that community.

    One more strategy we have on our to do list, is to commit some funds to the research of financial feminism in partnership with universities across Canada. This will significantly help us track towards our goal of CDN $2.5 billion by 2030.

     

    What do you think are the main barriers/ challenges that reduce women's participation in the financial market?

    Shelley: The main barriers are related to the lack of financial literacy among women and communities where women can advance their education. We created a safe environment for women to ask the questions they were otherwise afraid to ask—our investor community. Finally, the current research on financial feminism across Canada is highly insufficient, hindering a fast advancement.  

     

    How big is your community, and how fast has it grown?

    Shelley: We started our community started with 75 women in March 2019. Today, we are more than 19,000. We have activated more than 125 investors in our program, and those investors who graduate from our lab and go on to become investors in the broader ecosystem; some of them activate with The51. But, most importantly, we are building women’s and gender-diverse folks’ capacity as early-stage investors.

     

    To conclude, it is worth noting that the rate of women entrepreneurs and those investing in public and private markets are growing. Women-led companies on Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) raised CDN$1.6B in 2021, up significantly from CDN$488M in 2020[3]. Women are getting more funds as investors and making investment decisions based on the Gender Lens Investing approach[4]. The gender lens investing initiative recommends investors consider gender-based factors such as:

    • - investing more in women-owned or women-led enterprises.
    • - investing in enterprises that promote workplace equity (in staffing, management, boardroom representation, and along their supply chains);
    • - or investing in enterprises that offer products or services that substantially improve the lives of women and girls.

     

  • 19 Dec 2021 by Kaitlyn O'Neill

    Over the past several years, the underrepresentation of women in economics has been brought to the forefront. Newspaper articles such as the 2016 Globe and Mail article Economic Imbalance have highlighted the lack of gender diversity in academic and private sector economics in Canada, while mediums such as the International Monetary Fund’s Women in Economics Blog have celebrated the accomplishments of female economists.[1] Presentations of economics’ gender diversity issue and efforts to overcome it have never been more broadly displayed. 

    The presence of women in the field of economics is important for a host of reasons including the fact that economic policies and decisions impact all members of society. If economists do not reflect the society we live in, how will the interests of society's various groups be accounted for in economic decision-making?

    Three recent papers on gender in academic economics present interesting viewpoints and statistics, enhancing the discussion of gender diversity in the field of economics. The first, Innovative Ideas and Gender Inequality, by Marléne Koffi, studies whether female academic economists are properly recognized for their contributions to the field. [2] The second paper, Women in Economics: Europe and the World, by Emmanuelle Auriol, Guido Friebel, Alisa Weinberger, and Sasha Wilhelm proposes there is a “leaky pipeline” in academic economics, in countries throughout the world.[3] Lastly, Gender, Coauthorship and Academic Outcomes in Economics by Andrew Hussey, Sheena Murray and Wendy Stock, presents interesting results on the circumstances under which co-authorship is not beneficial for women.[4] Each of these papers enhances the discussion of gender diversity in economics, bringing varied and unique perspectives to the issue. 

    In Innovative Ideas and Gender Inequality Koffi hypothesizes that recognition can be an important driver for individuals to enter or stay in a field and focuses her research paper on whether women are being properly recognized for their contributions to the field of economics.[5] Her research suggests that women are underrepresented in economics because their ideas and research do not receive the same degree of recognition as males, thereby lowering the incentive for women to make such contributions.[6] In fact, Koffi found that “omitted articles from references are 15% to 30% more likely to be female-authored than male-authored.”[7] Koffi’s research brings to light a recognition problem in the field of economics, suggesting that properly recognizing the contributions of female economists through citation, could positively impact the number of females entering and remaining in the field.

    Auriol et al propose there is a “leaky pipeline” in academic economics, in their paper Women in Economics: Europe and the World.[8] A “leaky pipeline” essentially means that over the various career progressions, from the junior levels to the most senior levels, fewer and fewer women are present at each stage. The authors used recent data, collected in 2020, in their paper. In America, using a sample of 82 universities (including some business school faculties), the authors found that women held 32% of the junior positions and just 20% of the senior positions in academic economics.[9] In Europe, using a sample of 122 universities (including some business school faculties), the authors found that the representation of women was slightly better; women held 38% of the junior positions and 27% of the senior positions in academic economics.[10] Comparing Canada with the US, the authors found that Canada outperformed the US in its representation of women in senior academic economics positions.[11] Specifically, the authors found that while the representation of women in academic economics overall was similar in both countries, at the Canadian universities in their sample women held 31% of the senior-level positions, and at the American universities in their sample women held only 20% of the senior-level positions.[12] 

    Auriol et al believe the differences they observed across countries and regions, in terms of the percentage of women holding senior-level positions in academic economics, may in part be due to the publication targets placed on faculty members by the institutions they work for.[13] It is possible that women face obstacles obtaining the publication threshold needed to attain a senior-level position at certain institutions, as they take on parental responsibilities.[14] The differences may also be guided by the overall level of gender equality in a given country. The authors ranked the countries in their dataset by the share of women in senior academic economics positions and correlated this data with the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index country rankings. The Global Gender Gap Index measures gender equality in a country, by benchmarking the progression of gender gaps in economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment, overtime in a country.[15] The authors found that there was a 58% correlation between the Global Gender Gap Index country rankings and their rankings on the share of women in senior academic economics positions.[16] This correlation displays that there is a positive association between overall gender equality in a country and the share of women holding senior academic positions in economics in a country. 

    Overall, the work of Auriol et al further adds to the conversation on gender diversity in economics by documenting the presence of a “leaky pipeline” in academic economics in countries around the world including Canada, the US, and countries in Europe. The widespread presence of a “leaky pipeline” suggests that academic institutions must better support women not only in obtaining employment in academic economics, but also in rising to senior-level positions. 

    Hussey et al bring an additional perspective to the discussion of gender diversity in economics with their paper Gender, Coauthorship and Academic Outcomes in Economics. The authors used data on economics Ph.D. students to understand co-authorship behavior and how it can influence the obtainment of tenure years after graduation. The authors used a dataset containing data on students who enrolled in the economics Ph.D. programs of 27 American universities in fall 2002 and included annual updates on the students until 2010.[17] The authors found that “women received less credit toward tenure when co-authoring with men or advisors.”[18] The authors further found that while “both men and women benefit from sole-authored papers,” men benefit from having another paper that is co-authored with other males, while women do not receive additional benefit from having another paper that is co-authored with males.[19] The authors believe that this “suggests that men are implicitly given more credit for work done in mixed-gendered groups” and that “one way for women to avoid this tendency in a collaborative environment is to work with other women.”[20] 

    The results obtained by Hussey et al suggest that females may want to avoid co-authoring with males, to ensure they receive proper recognition for their work. However, this can limit the perspective brought to research projects, negatively impacting the advancement of the field. Therefore, greater understanding of the factors driving the results obtained by Hussey et al is imperative. 

                Koffi, Auriol et al, and Hussey et al bring forth timely research that enhances the discussion of gender diversity in economics. Koffi’s work suggests that properly recognizing the contributions of female economists through citation could have a positive impact on the number of women entering and remaining in the field. Auriol et al document the presence of a “leaky pipeline” in academic economics. The existence of a “leaky pipeline” suggests that women need to be better supported by academic institutions not only in obtaining employment in academic economics, but also in ascending to senior-level positions. Lastly, Hussey et al document the circumstances under which co-authorship is not beneficial for women. It is important that the factors driving some of their results be further understood, so that all members of the economics community feel encouraged to collaborate with one another on research projects, thereby enhancing the broadness of perspective brought to any economic issue. 

    Kaitlyn O'Neill, graduate of Johns Hopkins University, is a member of CWEC and currently working at Venterra Realty.


    [1] Tavia Grant and David Parkinson. 2016. Economic Imbalance. March 4. Accessed 2021.https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/for-canadas-economists-gender-gap-remains-stubbornlywide/article29039278/; IMF Blog. 2021. Women in Economics. August 6. Accessed 2021. https://blogs.imf.org/2021/08/06/women-in-economics/

    [2] Koffi, Marléne. 2021. "Innovative Ideas and Gender Inequality." 1-89.

    [3] Emmanuelle Auriol, Guido Friebel, Alisa Weinberger and Sascha Wilhelm. 2021. "Women in Economics: Europe and the World ." 1-61.

    [4] Andrew Hussey, Sheena Murray and Wendy Stock. 2021. "Gender, Coauthorship, and Academic Outcomes in Economics ." Economic Inquiry 1-20.

    [5] Koffi, Marléne. 2021. "Innovative Ideas and Gender Inequality." 2.

    [6] Ibid.

    [7] Koffi, Marléne. 2021. "Innovative Ideas and Gender Inequality." 5.

    [8] Emmanuelle Auriol, Guido Friebel, Alisa Weinberger and Sascha Wilhelm. 2021. "Women in Economics: Europe and the World ." 2.

    [9] Emmanuelle Auriol, Guido Friebel, Alisa Weinberger and Sascha Wilhelm. 2021. "Women in Economics: Europe and the World ." 9.

    [10] Ibid.

    [11] Ibid.

    [12] Ibid.

    [13] Emmanuelle Auriol, Guido Friebel, Alisa Weinberger and Sascha Wilhelm. 2021. "Women in Economics: Europe and the World ." 10.

    [14] Ibid.

    [15] World Economic Forum. 2021. "Global Gender Gap Report 2021." Insight Report, Switzerland.

    [16] Emmanuelle Auriol, Guido Friebel, Alisa Weinberger and Sascha Wilhelm. 2021. "Women in Economics: Europe and the World ." 18.

    [17] Andrew Hussey, Sheena Murray and Wendy Stock. 2021. "Gender, Coauthorship, and Academic Outcomes in Economics ." Economic Inquiry 4.

    [18] Andrew Hussey, Sheena Murray and Wendy Stock. 2021. "Gender, Coauthorship, and Academic Outcomes in Economics ." Economic Inquiry 1.

    [19] Andrew Hussey, Sheena Murray and Wendy Stock. 2021. "Gender, Coauthorship, and Academic Outcomes in Economics ." Economic Inquiry 16.

    [20] Ibid.