“No Excuses – 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power” By Gloria Feldt

“It is about women and power” said Gloria Feldt in her email to ask me if I would be interested in being interviewed for her upcoming book.  “Heck yes” was my answer.  When she told me more about what the book would be about I could not be more excited to participate. My quote from the book, and check out a whole lot more below,  “money is a power tool, and women need to learn to use it as one!”

“No Excuses” landed on  bookshelves back in September of 2010, but the paper back version is just now available and she chose a unique day to release it, Leap Day. For Gloria it seemed to represent the perfect message for her book.

In an article just published in Forbes Gloria explains the unique circumstances surrounding leap day and why it was so fitting.  She writes, “Leap Day—a perfect day for a book about women’s relationship with power, no?” It is time to ask “what’s the next great leap for women?”  The reality is that we have a ways to “go to achieve genuine parity. The next norm-changing leap must be women creating and earning wealth that places the female 51 percent of the population into power balance with their male counterparts.” Can I hear a big Amen!  That said,  another ‘norm-changing leap’ would occur if we just started using the financial power we already have.  Let me share a few statistics (and please find countless more in the resource section of my web-site under facts):

– Women oversee over 80 percent of the consumer purchasing decisions, or about $5 trillion dollars annually.  Think about the implications if we curtailed or  stopped buying products and services from companies that did not have a critical mass of women on their boards and in senior leadership ranks.

– Private wealth in the United States is expected to grow from some $14 trillion today to $22 trillion by 2020, and 50% of it will be in the hands of women. Think about the implications if we directed more of our investment dollars to talented women managers, women owned companies, and other women led investment opportunities. For a bigger framing of this please check out “Women Effect Investing.”

– Philanthropically, though women are ‘more charitable’ then men according to 2011 Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Study of High Net Worth Women’s Philanthropy, overall a relatively small percentage of dollars go to organizations and programs that work for the advancement of women and girls.

We all have so much power and the question to ask oneself is what do I care about? Once you answer that question then you can use that power for positive change in the areas that matter to use most.  What Gloria frames so beautifully in this book is that power is not good or bad in and of itself.  It is all about what you do with it. Her call to action is for us as women to use our power for positive change.  It is all about “POWER TO” and not “POWER OVER.”

There are so many wonderful quotes and teachings in this book but so let me share just a few of my favorites.

Gloria says, “Now is the moment for women to expand our vision for what we can do and our will to do it.” [p.27]

Gloria quotes Kim Cambell, former prime minister of Canada, “Look, Power exists. Somebody is going to have it. if you would exercise it ethically, why not you? I love power. I’m power-hungry because when I have power I can make things happen, can serve my community, can influence decisions, I can accomplish things.” [p.20]

In her first chapter Gloria reflects on one of the issues facing women, “By far the most confounding problem facing women today is not that doors aren’t open, but that women aren’t walking through the open doors in numbers and with intention sufficient to transform society’s major institutions once and for all.” [p. 53]

As writer Vivian Gornick said, “The question of equality for women, each and every time around, opens a Pandora’s box of fear, hope, and confusion that is existential in its very nature… But to live one’s life in service to that ultimate clarification-whether in a period of quietude or of activism- seems to me a privilege.”[p.54]

Gloria quotes anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”[p.251]

“We must act like a movement if we really want women to gain equality and justice and keep it for good,” Gloria says.

“Power unused is power useless.”

I will add this last one from the FORBES article linked above:

“Yet while lack of money is often cited as a reason women fall behind, money is rarely acknowledged as a tool for enabling women to meet the social justice aims at the core of feminism.”

Gloria you rock.  It is an honor to be included in our amazing book so everyone reading this blog please order your copy today, and more for your friends! Also visit Gloria’s great web-site for much more.

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