Did you note: Strange bedfellows? Complex intersection? Uncharted territory? Estranged relationships? Alpha females? Savvy Ladies? Old crones? Sexy? Unfeminine?
Can a woman earn, invest, grow, and use both money and power as means to an end, and still be seen as womanly? feminine? even sexy?
Let’s explore this territory together.
According to Allianz women money and power research, women made up half of all stock-market investors and controlled 48% of estates worth more than $5 million in 2006-2007. By 2011 women controlled over 50% of the United States’ wealth. No longer playing the role of secondary earner, 60% of women with business degrees out-earn their husbands, and according to the latest U.S. Census, regardless of educational attainments, women out-earn their male partners in 22% of households. The Allianz study, which included a survey of over 3,000 women and men also found:
- For women, the security and freedom money brings is 15-20 times more important than the status and respect it affords
- Money is almost 20 times more likely than sex to be the biggest source of marriage conflict
- One in five women report having a “secret stash” of savings their husbands don’t know about
The study found that women power and money relationships can be classified in 5 distinct categories: Alpha Female (18%) Confident, optimistic and pro-active, she feels like she must take care of herself and those she cares about financially – in part because it’s something she’s often had to do. Perceptive Planner (35%) She does thorough research and weighs all options before making financial decisions. Power Partner (24%) She is all about sharing financial power on an equal basis with her life partner. Uncertain Searcher (11%) She’s worried about money and confused by the complex financial choices she’s facing. As a result, she avoids making financial decisions. Supportive Traditionalist (8%) Here we find Cinderella who is comfortable relying on someone else to make the major financial decisions in her life.
Women Money and Power: Why Does it Matter?
Power makes things happen. Powered by gasoline, a car moves from point A to point B. Powered by money and the resources money can buy, Bill and Melinda Gates are improving health in developing countries and stopping the spread of diseases such as malaria. Money and power, despite their bad reputations, are neutral. What we do with money and power causes either good (valued) or bad (not valued) results. Women, according to the research behind Women and the Paradox of Power, seek power roles in corporations to bring about positive change in the company and the communities in which the business operates. So, if you want to make something happen, in your company, in your community or the world at large, get in charge of money and your power. Be deliberate about your goals, as well as the money and power required to achieve them.
If you aren’t concerned with healing some aspect of the world, you still have solid reasons to get in charge, or at least be knowledgeable, about your finances. Divorce and longevity statistics indicate that every woman stands an 80 – 90% chance of being solely responsible for her own or her family’s finances, at some point in her life.
Now, to the question of women money and power as being sexy or feminine. Unless it’s sexy to be poverty-stricken, worried, and focused on where you next dollar will come from, I vote that women who are powerful and financially in charge are both sexy and feminine.
Women Money and Power: Here’s the Rub
In her recent Harvard Business Review article about women and finances, Whitney Johnson references the sentiments of a friend who is among Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women. Said friend chose to, “designate her business a non-profit because women were willing to make donations hand-over-fist, but they wouldn’t invest.” ZAP! How will we ever bring to bear our much-needed influence in a world that revolves around economics, if we aren’t willing to become knowledgeable about, invest in, and gain power in our own economies?
A penny (little value) for your thoughts (more value).
Author – Anne Perschel: Co-Founder of 3Plus International www.3plusinternational.com