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."
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.
interviewing the determined women in this issue of
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.
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.
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.
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.
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