Share market trading has traditionally been a male-dominated arena, but it’s quickly proving to be an area where women are leading the way.
And trader, author and co-founder of The Trading Game, Louise Bedford, believes there are plenty of opportunities for more women to get involved — just don’t quit your day job yet.
“Get trading under your belt before you tell your boss to shove it!” she tells Women’s Agenda
So why should women get trading? Well according to Bedford, studies show women make more money. She cites US studies, including a 2001 report by the University of California, Berkeley, Boys Will Be Boys, which showed that while men trade 45% more than women, their annual earnings are 1.4% less.
“We’re more cautious and more conservative. We also have a desire to be fully educated before we jump into something,” she says.
“Trading is attracting a higher level of intellect in women. We don’t want to rely on a boss, we don’t want to rely on our partners to provide and we want more freedom, our own hours.”
Since leaving her corporate job to pursue trading full-time following an unexpected illness, Bedford hasn’t looked back and now hopes to inspire other women to give trading a go.
Unsure whether she’d ever work again after losing movement in her arms, Bedford set up a computer in her home to monitor the share markets and used a pen in her mouth to type. Having attended a seminar on the share market when she was still working in the corporate world, Bedford had already been trading alongside her job for years, as a hobby.
A few years later and Bedford was making more money than she ever imagined.
“Women need to realise that they can do this,” she says, emphasising the importance of having a mentor and establishing good networks.
“A lot of women feel that they’re not worthy. Being able to combat your own issues is key [to succeeding] as a trader.”
Conceding that sexism is still rife in the male-dominated trading industry –something she experiences too often as the only female presenter at many events – Bedford says she hopes to clear a path for other female traders.
“I’m appalled at some of the things that are said to me. That’s why I’m so happy to write the books. I want to inspire other women,” she says.
To get started as a trader, Bedford says to do some reading first.
“Then, you need to get a charting package and a platform to execute your trade like CommSec or E-Trade. You also need someone to guide you – a mentor,” she says.
“In the meantime, writing a trading plan is key … That needs to be so clear.”
And start, like Bedford, by pursuing trading as a hobby. No need to hand in your notice just yet.