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.