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In investing, Australian women losing the battle of the sexes

When it comes to investing, women are losing the battle of the sexes — at least in terms of participation. A new ASX report, the Australian Share Ownership Study, shows that while 40% of Australian men own shares directly, only 28% of Australian women do.

Overall, 34% of the adult population owns shares directly, or 6 million Australians in total.

A picture of the Australian investor emerges

Direct share ownership is also correlated with age, education levels and household income levels. For instance, the study found that the “likelihood of share ownership increases with age, peaking at a 49% incidence in the 65 to 74 age range” and “share ownership is higher among those with tertiary education, especially among those with post-graduate qualifications”.

Additionally, “higher income households were more likely to be direct share owners with 40% of those with annual incomes between $100,000 and $200,000 and 58% of those with annual household incomes over $200,000 being direct share owners”.

A picture begins to take shape of an Australian who directly owns shares: older, male, highly educated and highly paid. For many, such a finding is unlikely to be surprising.

Still — all that’s required is the desire to learn, and perhaps a little bit of greed

But share market investing needn’t be the province of just those who fit this description. (I write this as an avid 31 year-old female investor.) In the end, all that is required is the desire to learn. A little bit of greed can help too — as the rewards of successful investing are both intellectual and financial.

The money to be made is real. Consider just these results: Shares of relatively widely held Australian banks Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) and Westpac (ASX: WBC) have risen 170% and over 100%, respectively, over the last ten years. That’s to say nothing of the dividends shareholders received over this same period. The S&P/ASX 200 index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) rose 75% over this time as well.

Looking for opportunities now?

Of course, past performance is no indication of future returns, which is a way of saying that large Australian banks may not be the great investments of tomorrow. Still, the ASX contains opportunities galore, including promising small caps from Nearmap Limited (ASX: NEA) to Silver Chef Limited (ASX: SIV). Both deserve a spot on a growth-oriented investor’s watch list (no matter that investor’s gender).

Looking to get started investing, or to identify 3 more solid ideas today? The Australian Financial Review says “good quality Australian shares that have a long history of paying dividends are a real alternative to a term deposit.” You can get “3 Stocks for the Great Dividend Boom” in our special FREE report now. Click here now to find out the names, stock symbols, and full research for our three favourite income ideas, all completely free!

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Motley Fool contributor Catherine Baab-Muguira has no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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