The Economic History Review

Independent women: investing in British railways, 1870–1922

Volume 74 Issue 2
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Pages: 471-495Authors: Graeme G. Acheson, Gareth Campbell, Áine Gallagher, John D. Turner
Published online: May 1, 2021DOI: 10.1111/ehr.12968

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The early twentieth century saw the British capital market reach a state of maturity before any of its global counterparts. This coincided with more women participating directly in the stock market. This study analyses whether these female shareholders chose to invest independently of men. Using a novel dataset of almost 500,000 shareholders in some of the largest British railways, it shows that women were much more likely to be solo shareholders than men. There is also evidence that they prioritized their independence above other considerations such as where they invested or how diversified they could be.