More Than Money
Issue #19

Women, Money, and Power

Table of Contents

“From the Editors”

Am I a woman with wealth? As co-editor of More than Money , I am frequently called on to speak publicly from that part of my identity, yet after all these years my money still feels unreal to me. I know that the assets my husband Christopher and I hold together put us into the richest 5 percent of the U.S. population (not to mention the world's). But my gut demurs, "That doesn't count as rich. We're just... uh... a little above average."

This lack of perspective about wealth is pervasive for both men and women in our culture--after all, movies and TV shows are filled with people who seem just like us or far wealthier. However, I've come to appreciate that this particular feeling, of being swaddled in fog when trying to think about one's assets, is an especially common one for women. Understandably: when money is kept at arms length, it remains vague. Who earned and managed the assets in my mother and grandmothers' families? The men. "You'll need to support yourself" my parents said, yet I never had even the rudiments of a financial education. Over the decades I have grown more competent about earning, investing, and managing money, yet that telltale blurry feeling lingers.

Well, interviewing the determined women in this issue of More than Money has shown me what stepping WAY out of the fog can look like! We could have easily filled this issue with the excruciating history of women's financial oppression, or with illustrations of the distinct ways that sexism, racism, and classism have ensnared women with wealth for generations. We decided to only touch lightly on these factors, and to focus more on women with wealth who are successfully moving beyond traditional limitations. Thus, we sought and interviewed some extraordinary women who are using their clout to better the world--as philanthropists, business owners, family matriarchs, and organizers. We especially highlight women whose work is about money, and who are assisting other women with wealth.

In other issues of More than Money we generally include stories of people who are questioning the accumulation of wealth and seeking ways to share control of wealth with those often denied access to power. Certainly it can be a powerful act to turn away from wealth. However, in this issue, we are approaching things a bit differently. Because women with wealth often lack full control over their resources, and to share power women must first command it, our stories in this issue center on women who are claiming their financial potency and personal power.

Of course, there are innumerable other ways for women with wealth to act powerfully in their lives, including as community volunteers and homemakers. We especially acknowledge that raising children is indispensable creative work and should be recognized as such (with remuneration as well as respect). However, because women with wealth have such unique capacity to have impact beyond the home, and because we seek to break the stereotype of the traditional, behind-the-scenes woman, we chose to focus this issue primarily on women making a splash out in the world.

To men who read this issue, I hope that reading about women with wealth will enable you to better understand and support the women in your life, and give you perspective on how your own challenges with money are similar and different from that of women. To women, I hope these role models, however much you agree or disagree with their choices, motivate you to bring forth your unique contribution and to take your next steps from wherever you are.

--Anne Slepian  


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