Why Don't More Women Trade?


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This article originally appared on LaDuc Trading.

Earlier this year, after several years of working in relative anonymity, I decided to publicly (albeit quietly) launch a woman-owned-and-operated LIVE Trading Room and Macro-to-Micro Investment Newsletter. I didn’t think, “Wow, as a woman in this male-dominated industry, I’ll make a killing meeting the needs of under-represented women investors!” Nope, that didn’t drive me. Neither did the idea that I needed to create change in a profession where female professional traders — let alone trader education services offered by women — are grossly unrepresented. I just knew it was time for me to stretch outside of my comfort zone, be bold and walk into the tunnel toward the light–hopeful it was the light at the end of the tunnel and not an oncoming train.

Something I have learned while walking in the tunnel alone is that there are a lot of pro traders who are women walking alongside me in the shadows. One was Sarah Potter, who caught my attention early in my "twitter career" as she too was a self-taught trading mom running/promoting an options trading education service based on her winning performance and desire to help others. She recently wrote an article on how we can be our own hero: Working In A Male-Dominated Industry Helped Me Find My Purpose. It inspired me to search through my twitter feed for other Female Pro Traders (versus women in finance such as economists, journalists, analysts, hedge fund managers etc). My list is biased of course as I only follow those I respect both for their content as well as their humility (not attention-seeking "bragging alphas" like so many of the male traders on twitter and beyond). My list is also limited by my time spent researching twitter not the WWW, but I think it is pretty representative, and sadly, not lengthy. I find it shocking that I could only find 15 women running trader education subscription services in a world of trader education sites that pop up like daisies, daily, by men.

Privilege Is Invisible To Those Who Have It

When I took up trading, I knew I would learn to fish much sooner if I learned from the Pros. I actively sought out and shadowed very successful, pedigreed money-managers as well as highly-profitable, retail-rogue, super traders. I quickly found out that very few women fish professionally. I am not a quant researcher so I have no stats to offer up on what percentage of women are professional traders let alone percentage of women who manage their discretionary money in the market. I have no drum to beat around women being "better traders" than men. It is my personal observation that most semi- to professional traders — and that runs the gamut from trading educators, social media stars and bloggers — are men.

Maybe you’ve heard the joke: What’s the greatest affirmative action campaign ever known in the history of the world? Answer: The history of the world!

TV pundits and commentators aside (where there is clearly more gender equality), the social media world of "fin twit" is seriously lacking active female voices, let alone female traders that offer fee-based trader education and advice. Maybe if there was a ratings agency or actual data compiled on the audience tuning in, not to mention executives that mandated "equal representation," we might have some equal representation, but there isn’t.

Over the years, I have actively searched for the best traders on Twitter, regardless of gender, and in my travels I find few (maybe 5-10%) are women discussing and dissecting trades to a large retail audience. I’ve even done the meeting circuit and occasional trading conference where professional trading women are woefully unrepresented. Although the number of woman I "see" trading or promoting trading is growing (at a snails pace), Trader Education sites, run by men, are exploding in hockey-stick formation.

Separate But Equal is Not Equal

So what is the "problem" I’m fixated on: That there aren’t enough women trading, or there aren’t enough women in trader education, or there aren’t enough women subscribing to male-dominated trading rooms and social media? If “why” was the right question, I could easily answer: “I think it’s clear why women don’t participate more in these venues. It’s the men of course!” And half of you reading would agree with me.

Honestly this isn’t a rant. Stay with me… My totally unsubstantiated opinion is that many women are turned off by arrogant men, regardless of whether these men are excellent traders/analysts. Let’s face it: Men and Women are different. Maybe most men don’t mind learning from someone with that chest-pounding, Trump-esque cockiness, but I think modern and mature woman alike don’t want to listen to it let alone pay for that kind of instruction.

Many can synthesize through this noise pretty well, but even then, why should they have to navigate the disingenuous put downs and constant barrage of  “I Nailed It” echoing through most testosterone-driven chat/trading rooms? I think there is something to be said for the Mom-Edict: IF you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all! But let’s face it: Twitter is full of male traders and pro male trading services who are full of bravado. The options for finding quality trader education teachers who are humble, encouraging and courteous present a great opportunity for women.

Great Teaching Produces Great Traders

Trader Education, the face of which is solidly male, is not winning over the female contingent or there would be more women in trading! I think since many women are in large part natural teachers (think school teachers, think moms), these savvy ladies aren’t really seeing anything ‘special’ in the men or the education programs that are out there. And many of the women who are taking up the baton of running trader education services, are following the same scripts, sadly, as their male counterparts. They/we need to write our own scripts, not copy the formula that turns women off in the first place!

Part of the problem to solving the problem is that women don’t recognize "themselves" in these man-caves. If they lack genuine interaction, women know they are missing out on a personal connection and a nurturing community in which they can develop to their best potential. It’s very possible they are hanging back in the shadows of anonymity while they teach themselves and fish around looking for something better.

As better options become available for these female traders — for mentor-ship, community, results — we will start to see More Women Fishing. I am not sure when that will happen, but I plan to change it just by being part of the change. Until then, I’m hoping to attract a lot of female traders and teachers into my "home" because I think a woman will blossom into the trader she wants to be if she feels comfortable to be herself.

Watch carefully the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves.

-Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

Here’s my list. I trust it grows

@hmeisler – Helene is, by many accounts, the matriarch for the lot of us. She has pedigree but she is also a fave follow because of her "nose" and the fact little gets by her. She is a long-time contributor to The Street and is well-respected for her old-fashioned technical charting skills.

@marketminute – Michele is a witty writer/market commentator, with a focus on technical analysis in the world of ETFs.

@nictrades – Nicola is a technical analyst of Forex and Commodities who tweets a lot.

@kathylienfx – Kathy is a CNBC contributor who covers all things Forex.

@faithmight – Lydia is a Forex trader and RIA who proudly boasts of her heritage and faith.

@sassy_SPY – Rachel writes about SPY open interest and offers a trade alert service for momentum stocks.

@mb_willoughby – Maribeth is a day trader for Bullsonwallstreet.

@AnneMarieTrades – AnneMarie is a futures options coach and author who professes her faith openly.

@FibonacciQueen – Carolyn is a contributor to The Street/Mad Money and John Carter’s Simpler Trading with price analysis based on Fibonacci.

@ragheehorner – Raghee is a contributor to John Carter’s Simpler Trading with focus on Forex, Currency ETFs and Futures.

@offshorehunters – Michelle is a day/swing stock trader and outdoor enthusiast who contributes to Investors Underground, a day trading chatroom service.

@shecantrade – Sarah is an options trader and author who runs a live trading room and trade alert service.

@tradecharting – Mary offers a trade alert service focused on Forex and Stocks.

@tonihansen – Toni teaches technical analysis with focus on Fibonacci and swing trading.

Ladies of Mention: No official trader education services but their tweets sure are!














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Twitter:  @SamanthaLaDuc

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