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Money in Her Hands: The New Activism

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

On Wednesday, November 18, there will be an important UN Women USA NY event on financial gender equality. Read on to learn more.

Women's disadvantaged economic position is a function of their long-standing exclusion from the money system, particularly the gender barriers to owning capital. As I have explained in The Double X Economy, as well as in recent online articles, women currently have less access to investment and credit as a direct result of historical constraints on their economic autonomy, such as laws that gave control over all the capital assets and earnings in a family to the male head of household. These laws began to soften only in the 20th century in the West and are still in force in many countries around the world. The last barriers were lifted in the Western countries only in the last 50 years.

Male domination of the financial sector, with its biases and toxic work environments, still effectively bars women from full financial participation, however. The intransigence among financiers has multiple follow-on effects, from starving women-owned businesses for capital to enabling male-dominated companies to bully female employees (as explained in my chapter called "Money Bullies").

In sum, exclusion from capital is a basic roadblock to gender equality for all women. If we are ever to achieve a just world for females, we must storm that barricade. A new form of activism has been rising, particularly since the crash of 2008, among women in the financial sector, as well as women of wealth, to change the gender power dynamic in the economy by getting capital into the hands of women.

UN Women USA NY acting in their established role as enablers of gender equality, is holding a virtual event next week that can open our eyes to the possibilities of this new activism. Two leaders, Arlan Hamilton and Sallie Krawcheck, will be on deck to tell their own compelling stories and I will be the moderator of what I think will be a personal, practical, and persuasive conversation.

"Money in Her Hands" is a virtual fund raising event to benefit UNWomen. The date and time are Wednesday, November 18 at 5PM Eastern Time. You can register here.

Both leaders have books well worth the read. Arlan Hamilton's It's About Damn Time is a gutsy, straight-shooting narrative about the author's crusade to even the playing field in venture capital, not only for women, but for the African-American and LGBTQ (Hamilton is herself a black lesbian). Sallie Krawcheck's Own It shares her lessons from a stellar career in finance, which lead her to found Ellevest, a digital investment platform designed to help women meet their financial goals and to redefine the pioneering group 85 Broads as the Ellevate Network, a professional networking community whose mission is to advance women in business.

Why would an organization like UNWomen USA NY be engaged with such high-end financial actors? This is a question that establishment feminists and traditional donors may well ask.

Here's my view of it. The best way to fight poverty, reduce hunger, achieve prosperity, and maintain peace is to bring women into the world economy on an equal basis. We now have truckloads of data that support this conclusion—which applies to all nations, but especially poor countries. (Both the global information and the economic mechanisms are explained in The Double X Economy, which is now being translated into ten langauges for release in 39 countries.) We know from many programs implemented and measured by major world institutions that poor women, in particular, are harmed by the gender barriers to financial and economic inclusion.

Importantly, the international community, including the United Nations, has known and said for years that the best way to help children and communities is to empower women, especially economically. Women make better employers for other women. Women invest money in a surer, more sustainable way than do men. Women are much more likely to invest in socially and environmentally responsible companies—and to buy their products. And, key to this initiative, women use their economic knowledge and their money to help other women.

If you want to make the world a better place, there is no surer way than to get money in her hands. Please join us for this important event. All levels of donors are welcome and needed.


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