This paper investigates the role of women as shareholders in joint stock companies, and how far they can be characterised as active investors. It is based on a large database of company constitutions, together with procedural records and the pamphlet literature of the period. The penetration by women of the private sphere of investment did not always extend to the more public sphere of participation at shareholder meetings. Literary representations of women as speculators reinforced such boundaries. While the separate spheres may have been blurred, considerable limitations were set on the extent to which female shareholders could participate fully in the governance of joint stock companies.