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Close money gap to reach gender equality, Krawcheck says

Sallie Krawcheck

Until women have as much money as men, there will be no gender equality, Sallie Krawcheck, founder and CEO of Ellevest, told 1,200 NEW members at the NEW Leaders Summit, Sept. 27 in Chicago.

Ninety-five percent of hedge fund managers, 95 percent of venture capitalists and 85 percent of financial advisors are men, Krawcheck said. “Talking about money is almost taboo for women. How are we supposed to invest, if we aren’t allowed to talk about it?”

The gender pay gap for white women is decades away from closing, she noted. For black women, it's more than 100 years and not moving; for Latinas, more than 200 years away and not moving, she said.

Individually, women do not have the power to close the gender money gap, move the needle on pay equity or change the workplace, Krawcheck said. “Separately, our boss can tell us, ‘No.’ It’s a lot harder to say, ‘No’ to a diversity group that is engaging positively with the management team and talking about the gender pay gap, about disclosing those numbers, about why a 12-week family leave is better than eight weeks.

“Women have power. We’re 51 percent of the workforce, influence 85 percent of consumer spending and have $11 trillion in investable assets. We don’t need anyone to empower us, we need to use the power we’ve got.”

Krawcheck dispelled the falsehoods about women and investing, including:

  • Women aren’t as good at math as men are. “Not true, we get as good or better grades than men do,” Krawcheck said.
  • Women don’t invest much because they are risk adverse. “Women are not risk adverse, we are risk aware,” Krawcheck said. “We’re happy to take on risk, we’re not happy to take on risk we don’t understand.”
  • Women need more financial education. “So do men, but they invest [more often],” Krawcheck noted.
  • Men are better investors than women. “That’s not true either. Women outperform men at hedge fund and mutual fund levels and the individual level, because men trade more and pay higher fees, and they panic [and over-trade during] downturns.”

"The number-one driver of your belief in your ability to achieve your dreams in life is not how you’re doing at work or your relationship with your spouse or how much education you have,” Krawcheck said. “It’s whether or not you’re investing — and it’s not about how much you put aside, it’s about you taking that control.”