Financial Feminism: Invest, Give, Spend

A cartoon of three women. One is sitting on an arrow trending upwards. One is holding a big red heart above her head. One is sitting on a pile of money bills.
Original Cartoon by Liza Donnelly

As published as SheInvests Newsletter #12 on LinkedIn.

I started this newsletter almost a year ago after writing almost 800 entries on my personal blog and over 160 articles for LinkedIn. At the time, I said that my goal for the SheInvests newsletter was to try and help women take charge of their financial lives, but with a particular focus on investing. However, over this past year, that focus has shifted slightly, because financial engagement is so much bigger than investing. There are countless ways that we can use our financial resources in alignment with our values in the buckets of spending, giving, and investing. And when we do so to not only advance the economic well-being of ourselves as women, and to also advance the economic well-being of other women, I call that financial feminism. In fact, I wrote a whole article about this idea last year in which I declared that finance is the next frontier of feminism.* It was published before I started this newsletter and traces my 20 history as it relates to understanding the economic impact of empowering females.

Feminism; noun: belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

As it turns out, I am not the only one who has been putting these two words together. The theory of feminist economics has been around for decades, going back to the 1960s when women like Jane Jacobs and Betsy Warrior began writing about the idea that traditional women’s labour, both paid and unpaid, is undervalued and disrespected in modern economic systems. In 1994, the peer reviewed journal Feminist Economics was launched, and in recent years, the term financial feminism has gone mainstream. Just this year, a book was published by Jessica Robinson, titled Financial Feminism: A Woman’s Guide to Investing for a Sustainable Future. Not only did I read this book and loved it, but I recently had the opportunity to talk about it with Jessica prior to ShePlace‘s second LinkedIn Live event that will be happening this Wednesday, July 14th, at 10AM MT / 12PM ET. (Click on the invite below to schedule a reminder for yourself to join!)

A save the date graphic with headshots of Jacki Zehner, Olga Miler, and Jessica Robinson

For Jessica, the context of financial feminism is that of financial equality for women. As she puts it, “to be a financial feminist is to believe that women have a right to financial equality. But it also requires that one talks, acts, and advocates to make this happen. For ALL women.” Let’s just say that that gets a huge heck yes from me! Jessica goes on to outline how we all can do this, and it’s just too good not to share.

  1. View our financial health in the same way that we view self-care, in that it’s really important for our long-term well-being. So make it a priority and encourage other women in your life to do the same.
  2. Push for change in the workplace, especially when female employees are not being treated in the same way as male colleagues. Don’t be silent, call it out. Of course, this has a lot to do with pay parity, but it also relates to other company policies, including parental leave, flexible working hours, and bonus and pension schemes.
  3. Talk about money until it is no longer considered a taboo. Be open about it with girlfriends, sisters, daughters, and mothers. Empower one another by sharing your knowledge and experience, and encourage each and every woman you know to take control and talk openly about the challenges they face.
  4. Use your wealth to support other women. This is about gender-lens investing, and specifically, the gender and racial funding gap. We should all know the numbers by now, and I would hope that we all agree that they are grossly unfair and unjust, so let’s do something about it. Today.

I should note that when I spoke to Jessica, she emphasized that financial feminism is not just about getting women to invest more. There are so many ways that women can use their money for good, and financial feminism is about empowering women to invest in the type of future they want to build. This really resonated with me, because I see money as a tool. A building tool. A tool for creation. The world we live in today, with all of the current structures that may or may not be working; they are all in place because money and people with money built them that way. And I hope that there is little need to regurgitate all the ways that these structures are not working for the majority of people. It is not my opinion that we are currently far away from anything close to gender and racial equity. It is fact. But I hope that more and more each day, people will see money as the tool and path to change. I will be writing more about this framework of gender impact investing, spending and giving and how it provides us all with action steps.

Financial Feminism is a fantastic book, because it doesn’t just delve into the why, but also the how. It is full of practical resources, tools, and steps for how you can better direct your money for good. If you are looking for a place to start your journey in investing for a more just and equitable world, you can find it here as well as in the link below. And if you are already on this journey but would like to go deeper, you will find that in this book as well. There is something for everyone to learn, and I’m grateful to Jessica for continuing the conversation about the importance of financial feminism. I’m also thrilled that she agreed to speak with me for this week’s ShePlace online event.

Jessica and I will be joined by Olga Miler, who I profiled last fall in my very first SheInvests newsletter. Olga is the co-founder of SmartPurse and a financial powerhouse in her own right, and she and Jessica have done many talks together all over Europe. Olga has also recently released her first LinkedIn Newsletter titled ‘Money’s Impact’, which I encourage you to read, subscribe and share. This LinkedIn Live will be quite the international affair, as Olga is based in Switzerland, Jessica is in Dubai, and I will be joining from Utah. I hope you can join us as well for what will surely be a fired up and inspiring conversation.

Side by side headshots of Olga Miler and Jessica RobinsonAn image of the cover of Financial Feminist by Jessica Robinson

*Once again a shout out to my friend Ruth Ann Harnisch for “Finance is the new frontier of Feminism”

Thanks to Liza Donnelly for the original drawing for ShePlace and SheInvests.

#FreeBritney, Financial Abuse, and Power-To

A black and white cartoon by Liza Donnelly

As published on June 25th for the SheInvests newsletter on LinkedIn.

SheInvests Newsletter #11

On Wednesday, Britney Spears spoke in court about her desire to end the conservatorship that has governed her life for the past 13 years. Her statement was made in public, with a full transcript available to read online. And if you decide to read it, I hope you are as horrified as I am about the extent to which this woman has been exploited and robbed of her agency. Robbed of her life. Actually, you should read it, and I hate “should-ing”​ people. But everyone should read it. Ms. Spears’​ story really matters, and I stand with her in affirming her right, her human right, to have control over her life. I am writing this in support of her, and also to bring light to the issue of financial abuse.

So yes, this is a story about Ms. Spears, but it is so much bigger than just one woman. It is a story about extreme financial abuse, and this form of mistreatment is common and rampant. I know it is because women talk to me about it all the time, but in wider conversation, it is extremely under-discussed. This is also a story that invites every single one of us to think about our relationship to our money, and how we may, or may not, have agency over it. Money is a tool, a tool of power, so ultimately, this is a story about power. Who has it, and who does not.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve owned my money, and it’s my wish, my dream for all of this to end without being tested again.”​  – Britney Spears

I have long advocated that we all should aspire to have a healthy relationship with our financial resources. Meaning we should all have the knowledge, agency, and healthy accountability to oneself, and as appropriate, to others. By others, I mean those in a committed relationship who have a responsibility to make financial decisions WITH their partner. This is particularly important for women, as we are raised, thanks to the power of the patriarchy and other forces, to NOT prioritize our financial well-being. In fact, we are pushed and pulled towards very unhealthy and vulnerable places as it relates to our financial resources. We are bombarded with messages that encourage us to just find a man to take care of us, and to trust “experts”​ to take care of our money for us. And this doesn’t even begin to address the fact that it actually costs more to be a woman, and generally speaking, women on average earn less than men. According to The Center for American Progress, a woman who earns 82 cents on the dollar, the average wage gap, will have $400,000 less over a 40 year career.

This idea, that a man is a financial plan, is so prevalent in our culture, but it is also very dangerous. Leslie Bennetts wrote about this so powerfully in her bestselling book The Feminine Mistake, and it remains on my “must-read”​ list​ despite being published nearly 15 years ago. In Leslie’s words, “the Feminine Mistake was originally inspired by my exasperation at the public glorification of stay-at-home motherhood and the failure of the media and other analysts to warn women about the risks of sacrificing their financial independence.”​ The mistake she is referring to is choosing financial dependency. Yes, some do choose to give up their independence, but that is not the full story. When society, culture, media, parents, partners, and advisors TEACH US as females to not be in a relationship with our financial power, it should come as no surprise when that does not manifest. Women are therefore groomed to abdicate their financial power. Even worse, when we see such blatant abuse of financial power, as in the case of Ms. Spears, we are quick to look for reasons why it is justified. That practice is disgusting and wrong, and there is no way this would be happening to a man with a similar profile. For example, Justin Bieber went through some challenging times in 2014, but the end result was not a decade of financial and emotional oversight. And what about Elon Musk? People go through things, have meltdowns, it is what it means to be human.

I previously ranted about the power of the patriarchy and patriarchal financial systems, and this is why I feel so strongly that finance and money constitute the new frontier of feminism. Little in this world will really change as it relates to advancing gender equity until women who collectively have a whole lot of money, a whole lot of financial power, and power more generally, figure out how to own it and use it. And to be clear, it is more about power than it is about money. Money is a tool for power. It is a tool that can be wielded for good, yes, but we are all also very aware of the depths to which it can be used destructively. One of the worst ways it can be used is when control over money is used to take away another’s agency. Financial abuse is abuse, and that is why it is almost always present with other forms of domestic abuse.

Financial abuse involves controlling a victim’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain financial resources. Those who are victimized financially may be prevented from working.

They also may have their own money restricted or stolen by the abuser. And rarely do they have complete access to money and other resources. When they do have money, they often have to account for every penny they spend.

Overall, the forms of financial abuse vary from situation to situation. Sometimes an abuser may use subtle tactics like manipulation while other abusers may be more overt, demanding, and intimidating.

In the end, the goal is always the same—to gain power and control in a relationship (click over to this article to understand more about what financial abuse is).

While less commonly understood than other forms of abuse, financial abuse is one of the most powerful methods of keeping a victim trapped in an abusive relationship. Research shows that victims are often too worried about their ability to solely provide financially for themselves and their children to end the relationship. Furthermore, financial insecurity is one of the top reasons women return to abusive partners. I guarantee that you know people, you may even be that person, who experiences financial abuse. The cost to our society of all forms of abuse is massive, billions, and is powerfully illustrated here. As I mentioned, many women have shared their stories with me, and the commonalities between them will be the subject of yet another article, as will be the advice I both give and garner from experts in the field.

As it relates to Ms. Spears, she is fighting for the right to control her finances, and, more generally, control over her life. Again, if you read the transcript and assume it is true, which I do, then every part of her life seems to be under the control of someone else, including her rights over her own body. Her right to choose to have a child. It also appears that she has been forced to work against her will. If, and this is a big “if”​,​ she once needed the courts to intervene, that was 13 years ago. Given everything that she has accomplished in those 13 years, it is clear that whatever legal measures may or may not have once been needed are no longer necessary.

A conservatorship is a legal structure that is supposed to protect and support an individual who cannot take care of themselves. It is supposed to put the best interests of the at-risk individual first, but there is a big difference between supporting someone and controlling someone (click here for an article about the conservatorship). Let me say that again. There is a WORLD of difference between supporting someone, caring for someone, and controlling someone. What Ms. Spears describes, the life she describes is one of control, not care. What is so insane is that she has continued to work, be the provider, while also being the one confined.

“​There should be… I shouldn’t be on a conservatorship. If I can work and provide money and work for myself. It makes no sense. The laws need to change.”​ – Britney Spears

A photo of Britany Spears, smiling into the camera, holding a MTV Award

Therefore, today I am asking you, the reader, no matter what your sex or gender may be, to think about your relationship to financial resources. Is that relationship healthy? Do you have the knowledge you want and need? Are you the decision-maker around what you invest, spend, and give? Do you have agency, or in other words, independent decision-making authority? And if not, who do you report to, and does that person report to you in the same way? Is there someone who makes the “final”​ decision as it relates to money? Why them? Remember, money and power tend to go hand-in-hand.

Now, ladies, I am talking to you specifically. Do you give away your financial power? Do you invite, or allow, others to guide your financial decision-making? If so, why? There may be some good reasons, and there may be some that are not good or beyond your control. I am not judging, I am asking. Truly. While few relationships are governed by legal conservatorships, countless relationships are functioning as if they are. Again, the definition:

A conservatorship is a court-approved arrangement where a person or organization is appointed by a judge to take care of the finances and well-being of an adult whom a judge has deemed to be unable to manage his or her life.

How many inappropriate, demeaning, controlling, invisible conservatorships are happening in the relationships between capable adults right this second? In the same way that women are taught and groomed to give up their financial power, men are taught, groomed, and raised to embrace it. To take it. To use it. Most romantic relationships are initially formed with love and respect, so why not express our love and respect in our financial relationship as well?

We can all aspire to be in a healthy relationship with our financial resources, but it will take deep introspection regarding our interactions with money. It remains somewhat of a mystery to me why most of us would rather do almost anything else than work on our financial literacy, despite the fact that having enough money is essential to our well-being. Essential. It is my mission to understand the reasons, barriers, and challenges women face around financial engagement, and to work to eliminate them. We can all use money as a tool for good, and as a resource to serve ourselves and our families lovingly. As my friend Gloria Feldt says, “​power-to not power-over“​.

And for you Ms. Spears, I wish you well. I hope you get what you are asking for and are surrounded by people who love you and want to see you flourish in every way possible. I hope that the people who have decision-making authority over your life put your best interests first, as they are supposed to. I hope they listen to you and trust you. You are not only incredibly talented, but you have worked so hard to earn financial resources that should be of service to you, the loved ones of your choosing, and the goals and dreams you have for your life and the change you want to see in the world. As you so perfectly said, “I deserve to have a life.“​ Indeed you do. So does everyone.

#FreeBritney – Take to social in support

“​If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”​

Lilla Watson

A photo of the staff of ShePlace holding a #FreeBritany sign

A photo of two male allies holding a #FreeBritany sign

The first photo is of us gals in the ShePlace Office at Kiln. Park City. The second photo is of Ryan Fanny and Brian Rodio who occupy the office next door and were our photographers. They have been putting up with a lot of loud Britney Spears music these past few days.

Thanks once again to the incredible Liza Donnelly for her original drawing for this SheInvests Newsletter.

Resources

Please share additional resources in the comment section. Thank you.

WTF? Invest in Women and BIPOC Founders, now.

A cartoon of a man sitting a top a huge mountain of Cheerios, while two women look at their three little Cheerios. One woman is looking at the man with the thought bubble "WTF?"
Original Cartoon by Liza Donnelly

As published on LinkedIn on June 15th, 2021.

Welcome to SheInvests Newsletter #10.

WTF? In our family it means, what the fudge? That said, the other meaning is appropriate too. Really appropriate. The above drawing, courtesy of my ongoing collaboration with the incredible Liza Donnelly, shows the percentage of venture capital dollars, represented by Cheerios, going to male founders versus female founders. I wrote about these numbers and what it means in great detail in SheInvests #3, the now infamous Cheerios piece. This month, I asked Liza to draw what I talked about in that piece, and with your help, we want to make this image ubiquitous. The image above represents the gross inequity of capital flowing to women, especially women of color, and it is time that we fully acknowledge the far-ranging effects of biased capital, and more importantly, do something about it.

The ‘something’ I am specifically championing is to invest in early-stage private equity funds started by women and BIPOC* founders. And if you are reading this and are thinking, “This article is not for me because I don’t have enough money to invest in funds”, I urge you to keep reading. Funds are successful because the companies they invest in are successful, and that happens when we purchase or advocate for the purchase of the products and services of the funded companies. This means we all have a role to play in democratizing access to capital. We all have the power, through our investing, spending, giving, and advocacy, to shift the financial and economic outcomes for ourselves and for others. In fact, that is what we are doing all day, every day, without even knowing it.

If you already read the Cheerios article, thank you. But if you haven’t, let me briefly catch you up. That newsletter was inspired by the latest data that showed that the most women founders have ever received in a given year was just 2.8% of all venture capital dollars. For Black and Latina founders, that percentage was 0.2%. Put another way, male founders received 97.2% of venture capital dollars. It has been argued that women are less likely to start the types of businesses that attract VC capital, blah blah blah… But even if that is partially true, it is not 97.2% true. Furthermore, as an active angel investor myself, as well as an active early-stage fund investor, I know that the deal flow is robust from women and BIPOC founders. It just is.

A photo of a pile of Cheerios on a counter. Three Cheerios are separated for women, a small pile of crumbs is separated for WOC, and the rest are for men.

This is all incredibly important, because when businesses receive an influx of capital, they generally hire people, often including equity as part of the compensation. This grows the wealth of not only the founders, but those they hire as well. And given that Black and brown founders are more likely to hire Black and brown employees, that wealth is passed on. It is the wealth effect that has served white men forever. But to change the output, you need to change the input. Of course, this is the point in the paragraph where something in me wants to type – yes there are wonderful white men who get money and instinctively care about diversifying their employee base and their board, but the numbers also say that most do not. In this world we live in, we give way too much credit for good intentions, especially as it relates to diversity and inclusion. That’s why I am advocating for following the money trail to better understand commitment to values, not just words.

Another highlight from my Cheerios piece that is worth pulling in here are the numbers related to who makes the decisions regarding where those VC dollars go:

  • 5.6% of all VC firms in the US are women-led, and only 2.1% of VC firms are founded by a woman of color.
  • 4.9% of all VC partners in the US are women, and only 2.4% of all VC partners are Founding female partners.
  • 73% of all women-led VC firms were founded in the last 5 years (since 2015).
  • 23% of women-led firms are currently raising their first fund, and 44% are deploying Fund I.
  • 90% of all women-led funds are considered emerging managers.

Why does this matter SO SO SO much? Because people who share demographics in common, including gender, race, ethnicity, etc., are more likely to invest in people who share those same demographics. If we want to broaden who gets the capital, we simply have to broaden who makes the decisions about where that capital goes. For example, do you watch Shark Tank? I do, a lot, and I both love it and absolutely hate it for a lot of reasons that could probably fill a whole other newsletter. But what I specifically want to note is how often the Sharks opt-in, or opt-out, because the businesses are “not in their wheelhouse”, or because they “cannot relate to the business as a ___”. I admit I do not know the actual statistics from the show, but I can guarantee the women sharks are way more likely to fund the women-founded businesses, and vice versa. Additionally, I’m willing to bet that the Black sharks are more likely to fund the Black founders, etc. If someone has data on this, please share. But regardless, if you assume that human nature is human nature, then in order to change who gets the money, you need to change who is allocating it.

This has been my work (with help!) for the past several months; to identify early-stage funds founded by managers (General Partners / GPs) who are women and people of color, with an emphasis on identifying Black women GPs. I believe that as an investor, and a white woman with capital who wants to align my money with a gender and racial impact lens, funding these Black and brown women is the single, most impactful interventions/investments I can make. Let me explain further, building on the above, after giving you a few more statistics.

In this recent (and fantastic!) article by Stephanie Cohn Rupp of Veris Wealth Partners, she cites these statistics as it relates to the financial health of Black American families:

  • Research from the Federal Reserve Bank at St. Louis showed that between 1992 and 2016 college-educated white Americans saw their wealth increase by 96% while college-educated Black Americans saw their wealth fall by 10%.
  • The Brookings Institute found that the net worth of a typical white family in the United States is 10 times greater than the average net worth of a Black family.
  • Only 44% of Black households own their homes compared to 73.7% of white families.

We all need to care about this. Recognizing that people of a certain demographic, in this case, Black Americans, are systematically financially disadvantaged should not immediately result in the “and what about”s? Yes, we also need to care about improving the well-being of all financially disadvantaged people, but we can also focus on one demographic in terms of interventions and solutions. I simply do not believe in a zero-sum game and neither should you. However, just take a moment to notice how often, especially in today’s media, we are being sold this belief. Don’t believe it. If we want to improve the stats above and close the gap by bringing the wellbeing of all Black Americans up, one powerful strategy is to invest in Black Fund Managers, who in turn invest in Black founders, who in turn hire Black employees, which improves the economic well being of Black families, Black communities, and so on.

In-game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which an advantage that is won by one of two sides is lost by the other. If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero.

Sidebar: I have this habit of seeding future articles in current ones, so let me plant this seed. Philanthropy and charitable dollars, even when combined with progressive policies, will never be enough to bring low-income, low wealth people into a place where they have the conditions to flourish. We all know this, and yet we continue to act like it will. We place too much hope in philanthropy, and I believe wealthy white women do this the most. We do it by focussing the vast majority of our time and money on charitable versus non-charitable activities. I certainly did this for years, which is why now, I am shifting so much attention to aligning my investment capital with my values. It is also why I wrote this piece about Melinda French Gates, Laurene Powell Jobs, and MacKenzie Scott. As I stated at the end of that newsletter, if and when women of the world align their VAST financial and investment resources with the goal of advancing gender and racial equity, things would change so fast our heads would spin. 

Cartoon drawings of Melinda French Gates, Laurene Powell Jobs, and MacKenzie Scott
Original Drawing by Liza Donnelly for SheInvests

But back to the stats and my theory of change for investing in Black and brown women GPs. This is, after all, the SheINVESTS newsletter. So let’s also take a minute to look at this from an investment perspective. When it comes to my own personal investment philosophy, in addition to always thinking about the good my money can do (I am, after all, an impact-driven investor), I also put my investment dollars to work in opportunities that I believe can generate substantial returns. Not because I’m necessarily determined to add to my wealth with these investments (although if that’s one of your goals, that’s awesome too!), but for the following reasons:

  1. Impact will be created at scale when solutions work at scale. Which means that an impact-focused company, like HelloAlice, one of my investments that also happens to be tackling racial disparities in business, will be most effective when it is most successful. And the byproduct of successful businesses (for investors) is a nice return. And, P.S. HelloAlice, whose cofounder Carolyn Rodz is Latina, just raised $21 million in a Series B!
  2. Those nice returns allow me to amplify my impact. When my investments are successful, that increases the amount of capital I can wield for good, whether it’s through philanthropy or more impact investments.

So with that investment philosophy in mind, let’s get back to the topic at hand – investing in Black women. As Gayle Jennings O’Byrne, one of the fund managers I’ve recently invested in (more about Gayle and the WOCstar fund below!) often says, investing in women of color provides “the biggest arbitrage opportunity in venture investing.” Not only do companies led by diverse teams outperform when it comes to higher returns (30% higher by some estimates, in fact), but they are also best positioned to capitalize on changing trends and the growing purchasing power of both women and communities of color. The spending power of multicultural communities is already $3.9T, and is growing rapidly as multicultural populations shift toward the majority. Not to mention the fact that women control 85% of consumer spending. Investors who fail to recognize the importance of these trends are not only missing out on a massive economic opportunity, but an impact one as well.

Furthermore, investing in black women is good business for everyone. A recent reportby Goldman Sachs found that closing the earnings gap for Black women could create up to 1.7 million jobs and raise the annual GDP by $450B. Not to mention all of the other associated benefits that come from economic equity more broadly, including clean energy, better health outcomes, better access to education. Goldman felt so strongly that they created their One Million Black Women Initiative “which will commit $10 billion in direct investment capital and $100 million in philanthropic support to address the dual disproportionate gender and racial biases that Black women have faced for generations which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic”. The bottom line is that investing in Black women represents a massive opportunity to generate BOTH impact and alpha.

As I’ve mentioned in recent newsletters, over the past few months I have been working with Rose Maizner to find and vet funds led by women and women of color. So far, we have made investments in two outstanding funds: the WOCstar Fund led by Gayle and Pialy Aditya, and The 22 Fund led by Tracy Gray. We decided to invest in these funds for a myriad of reasons and one of the challenges we are trying to solve is how to share due diligence efforts to make investing in funds easier. One thing we know for sure, these two women are amazing.

A close of headshot photo of Gayle Jennings O'ByrneWith an impressive background as a tech investor, entrepreneur, and former finance executive, Gayle (pictured to the right) has more than 20 years of experience investing in and supporting the women of color tech ecosystem. During her 17 year tenure with JPMorgan, she had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the space via co-investment, as well as build up an impressive bench of skills that have served her well as an investor, including deep experience with mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, valuation, and contract negotiations.

Close up photo of Tracy GrayAnd then there’s Tracy (pictured to the left), who is an actual rocket scientist, an impact and cleantech/environmental justice investor, and a long-time champion of investing in overlooked and underestimated teams and technologies. She’s also an expert in international business and economic development policy, and, as a Senior Advisor to the Mayor, she helped to lead the City of Los Angeles’s economic recovery efforts post-Recession by creating a widely respected and replicated plan rooted in supporting manufacturing and export-oriented local businesses.

In short, Tracy and Gayle bring decades of experience to the table, and have crafted thoughtful, meaningful investment theses that reflect their unique domain expertise. They both have countless skills t

hat they have developed over the years, all of which are critical to helping founders to not just successfully scale, but to create as much impact and value as possible along the way. And, in addition to the fact that they are both incredibly qualified and experienced fund managers, they have also been leading voices in the effort to challenge and redesign the systems that have perpetuated such staggering inequality when it comes to the allocation of capital, whether it’s helping us to understand the complicity of foundations in widening the wealth gap, or underscoring the importance of investing in Black investors. As Tracy was recently told by a potential institutional investor, she hasn’t spent the past few years just fundraising. She’s spent them educating. Educating investors about the opportunity. About what is really risk and what is actually just bias or assumption. About understanding the difference between impact-washing and lip service and actually championing–and funding–the women who are paving the way towards a more equitable investment landscape.

This Thursday, June 17th, I will be hosting a LinkedIn Live with Tracy and Gayle, where we will be talking about this theory of change and the importance of investing with an intersectional gender lens. We will be discussing how catalyzing capital toward diverse fund managers creates immense social and economic impact, as well as how these opportunities have been shown to generate outstanding financial returns, often outperforming others in their asset class. I hope you will join us at 12PM ET on Thursday, as I know it will be an incredible and illuminating conversation. AND, it will be my very FIRST LinkedIn Live event! If you click through here, you can push the ‘REMIND ME’ button and you will receive a notification when the event goes live.

A promotional poster for the event featuring headshots of Jacki, Gayle, and Tracy

In the past several years, there has been an unprecedented reckoning around gender and racial justice in the United States and the world at large. And yet, even with companies and individuals paying tremendous amounts of lip service to these movements, when it comes to the world of finance, very little has changed, or in some cases, has gotten worse. But that can change, especially when it comes to investment dollars.

So I invite you to take another look at the image at the top of this article. That image should offend you. Well, actually, it should enrage you, but instead of getting angry, let’s just fix this. Because let’s be absolutely clear. We can fix this. Right now. Folks, this is not a zero-sum game world we are living in. I do not believe that, and neither should you.

———————

This article could be so much longer if I more fully referenced all the people and resources I want to, but below are some links to go deeper.

  • Tracy wrote a fantastic article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, that outlines clear action steps for how to support diverse fund managers.
  • GenderSmart recently published a terrific guide, full of tools and resources, for investors looking to support first-time and diverse fund managers. This is a tool you can use, and also give to your investment advisor!
  • The Gender Smart community in partnership with Wharton created Project Sage which tracks Venture Capital, Private Equity, and Private Debt with a Gender Lens. This document contains lists of funds in all these categories!!! Truly a spectacular resource for anyone looking to invest.
  • My racial equity piece (SheInvests #2) has dozens of resources related to investing with a racial lens. I pulled most of them from the GenderSmart community. Thank you!
  • A great article by Stephanie Cohn Rupp of Veris Wealth Partners titled “There is a Strong Business Case for Racial Equity, But Investors Must Look Beyond the Data”
  • As always, my 650 top reports list to support Gender Lens Investing, Giving, and Action. There is not only SO MUCH data embedded in all of these studies but so many strategies as well.
  • Just released research stating that “the U.S. economy lost out on more than $507 billion in economic productivity as the attainment gap between Black and white women has widened since 1960, according to new analysis from S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI)”.

Please feel free to post other resources in the comment section.

*BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

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