Identity and Investment: A Narrative Study of Female Private Investors' Identity Construction

Line Thøgersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Despite much initiative and debate, there is still a considerable salary difference between women and men. Because women have a longer life expectancy than men, it is particularly important for women to administer their wealth in order to financially secure their retirement. However, there are indications that many women do not invest their funds. This paradox has left the author puzzled about female identity in terms of economy, and this thesis takes a social constructivist approach to an exploration of how women construct their identity through investment. The theoretical foundation of this thesis is narrative psychology, with Jerome Bruner as a notable theorist, supported by the concept of Reflexivity in reference to George Herbert Mead’s theory of the Self.
The problem statement of the thesis is: By using narratives, how do the women Petra, May, Helle and Sidsel construct identity in connection with investing?
This is explored in a case study of four female private investors, and empirical data was collected using qualitative interviews. The empirical data was analysed using thematic content analysis to identify the main themes in the participants’ narratives. This analysis showed that the participants’ narratives revolved around challenges regarding risk, the usefulness of sparring partners and social networks, gender differences in investment behaviour and a perception that women often entrust financial issues to their husbands, as well as the importance of helping other people and society through financial knowledge and investment decisions. Based on these main themes, each participant’s narrative was analysed using the theoretical concepts to analyse the content and construction of the narrative. The study finds that the participants’ constructed identities revolve around concepts such as responsibility and independence, while dissociating their own identities from the perceived identities of other women in society.
Finally, it was argued that these findings can be summarised to indicate certain cultural tendencies. The study provides in-depth knowledge about women’s identities in terms of investment, which is useful in financial counselling as well as development and marketing of financial products.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages81