Luyanda Shando is a self-taught BluFX trader based in South Africa - in this blog we speak to her about her experience of trading.
This Q&A is part of our Women in Trading series, which focuses on women’s experiences of the trading industry. We talk to women from across the globe about advice, discrimination, and changing the workplace - and trading - for the better.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Struggling to focus on your trades during the COVID-19 pandemic? Read our top tips on focusing on work during lockdown here...
Women in Trading: Luyanda Shando
First of all, could you tell me a bit about how you began trading - and what interested you about it in the first place?
I began my trading journey in 2017, and I had no idea that something like forex even existed until I saw a YouTube video titled ‘How to Make Millions in One Month’. I then went to a forex class, which cost R4 500 for two weeks - but I didn’t learn a lot. I was a bit discouraged then. But after that I decided to start from scratch and teach myself - doing my research, gaining more knowledge. It was really interesting to me that the industry was dominated by men, and I’m a woman who loves a challenge, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me. I wanted to be the first young female trader, and pave the way for other young girls.
In your experience, what is it like to be a woman in trading - which is quite a traditionally male-dominated industry?
Being a female trader is one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced - you are constantly underestimated and discriminated against. But it’s the best feeling to persist and to know that I’m capable of doing exactly what a man does.
Have you ever experienced any discrimination trading as a woman?
Yes, I have been discriminated against before, but it’s made me stronger. When I joined a forex trading group on Facebook, there was a guy on there who had a question about an indicator I’d used and tested before. I was trying to explain to him how the indicator worked, and he replied, “Women should sit back and learn from us.”
The second time was when I joined a telegram group, and I asked a basic question. A man answered me, but was so rude - I replied saying that I didn’t expect such a rude response, and he replied, “That’s why trading isn’t for women - women are so emotional, and you don’t need that in trading.” Everyone laughed. I think I was the only female in that group.
Why do you think there are so few women in the trading industry?
Most women are afraid of taking risks, and time is mostly against women. Women have a lot going on in their lives - and forex demands time to learn. Women mostly don’t have that time - they get home, look after their kids, do chores, and go to work the next morning, but men mostly don’t take on these responsibilities in the same way. I think time is a big factor.
How do you think the industry could be more open and welcoming to female traders?
I think there should be more interviews with women in the forex industry to motivate other female traders. I also think the industry would benefit from female-focused forex clubs - so that women can be around one another and discuss any issues they’re facing, as our problems are very different to the ones that men face.
Is there any advice you would give to other women looking to start a career in trading?
Women should never lose their confidence. They should believe in themselves - gender doesn’t count in trading performance, it’s all about the hard work you put in.
Working from home during the pandemic has been hard on many women who also have childcare responsibilities, and women statistically do the majority of domestic work, too. What has working during the coronavirus pandemic been like for you?
Working from home was very hard. I had to adjust my trading hours because kids are all over the house! Working from home meant many late nights for me because during the day I do home chores and look after the kids. I lost money during this period because I can’t place trades during the day - the only time to trade was at night.