Women in the United States have had a long and complex financial history. Women have been on the front lines for centuries, from the early days of struggling to gain economic autonomy to the modern-day fight for equal pay and financial security. Despite significant progress in recent decades, the financial landscape for women is still far from equal. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the financial history of women, it is important to consider the major milestones, key trends, and ongoing challenges that women face today.
The first female investor was Abigail Adams.
The former First Lady is the first documented woman investor in the US. She managed her household’s financial affairs while John Adams served in the war and continued to do so in the White House. Despite her husband’s advice to invest in farmland, she instead invested in bonds. In addition to managing finances, she was an early advocate of women’s rights, female education, and the abolition of slavery, all while raising her four children.
The first woman-owned brokerage was created in 1870.
Victoria Claflin Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin opened Woodhull, Claflin, and Co. on Wall Street, where they became the first for-women-by-women firm in the U.S. The sisters served society wives, widows, teachers, small business owners, and other female entrepreneurs. It has been reported that they made $700,000 in their first six weeks, which would be roughly $13 million today.
In 2014, Janet Yellen became the first female chair of the Federal Reserve.
After its 100th year of existence, Janet Yellen rose to hold the highest office in the central bank of the United States. Today, she serves as the Secretary of the Treasury in President Biden’s administration. Janet Yellen is now the first woman to hold each of the top economic positions in the federal government.
Women control $10 trillion in U.S. financial assets; by the end of the decade, that figure is projected to rise to $30 trillion.
Women play a significant role in the economic well-being of the US. They make 85% of consumer spending decisions and comprise 51% of the workforce.
Women make up 30% of corporate directorships but hold only 14% of executive team seats at Fortune 500 companies.
These low numbers demonstrate that more work needs to be done to ensure equal representation of women in leadership positions. There are a number of initiatives that can be implemented to promote gender diversity and inclusion at the highest levels of corporate decision-making. These include mentorship programs, training and development opportunities, and more transparency in recruitment and promotion processes. With the right action and commitment, women will have equal opportunities to reach their full potential in the corporate world.
Women have made huge strides over history, but we still have a long way to go.
Women have made remarkable progress in financial autonomy both personally and professionally, but there is still much to be done to ensure that women are given the same opportunities as men to succeed. Here at Howland Capital, we recognize the work of those women who have come before us. Through our DEI initiative, we consider each promotion and new hire through the lens of equal opportunity, particularly in job functions where women are underrepresented. With continued advocacy, education, and support, women can continue to advance their financial well-being and achieve their professional goals