Abstract: Women Investors in England and Wales: A Class on their Own?

Janette Rutterford, David Green, Alastair Owens, and Josephine Maltby


Until recently, little attention has been given to the history of investors and, in particular, women investors. This paper presents findings from a major new study of shareholding in England and Wales between 1870 and 1930 that forms part of an ESRC-sponsored research program on women, wealth, and investment. Drawing upon a sample of over 30,000 stockholders from over 220 share registers of 47 companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange it explores the structure and composition of men and women's holdings in ordinary stock, preferred stock, and fixed interest securities across a range of sectors. The study is innovative in its size and time period covered, as well as its cross-sectional and time series nature. We note a democratisation of investment in terms of a reduction in average shareholding over time as well as a less local preference for investment. We also document a major increase in women's investment over the period with marked gender differences with respect to type of security, sector, location of head office and of activity.