This month in honour of Women’s History Month, I did a double whammy. The first book I read was Proposals for the Feminine Economy, by Jennifer Armbrust Founder and Director of Sister. The second book was Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs, by Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliott.
Proposals for the Feminine Economy, by Jennifer Armbrust:
This book is a small but mighty volume and I picked it because I thought it provided a Macro view on looking at the economy through a Feminine lens. It asks a big question “If Capitalism is an economy that values masculine traits, what could another economy look like?”
It then goes into the 12 principles for prototyping a Feminist business.
Of course as a money person, one of the pieces that really stuck with me was about money – “Money follows value. Or, said another way, money follows our values.”
These are big questions and statements that require thought at an individual and collective level, but I do think they should be thought of and considered.
When you’re in a position to allocate money (as an individual, as a business or institution) – how and where are you allocating it, what are you valuing when you do that?
Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs, by Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliott
This book seeks to celebrate the feminine by describing women’s experiences in the world of venture creation, it delves into three questions:
- What is feminine capital?
- How is feminine capital transforming entrepreneurship?
- How does entrepreneurship inform feminism?
I think from the above, you can see why I picked this – now we’re getting to the micro level from Economy to venture creation. The authors studied the experiences of over twenty thousand entrepreneurs in developing their research.
This book is full to the brim with tips, learning aids, checklists, prompted reflections, practical scenarios and illustrative examples – it’s why I thought it would be really good for a book club pick because these tools are perfect of inspiring thoughtful discussion.
Some of my favourite learning aids were in the Social Capital section related to managing social networks and maximizing the power of networking, and of course, I basically have every page in the Money Matters section dog eared and highlighted, my favourite quote from that section is:
“Financial Literacy affects the ability to develop and interpret financial statements, identify performance benchmarks (industry norm, points of reference), set goals, and present financial data to investors and taxation authorities. The impact of not managing financial information is significant; fiscal management is linked to enterprise growth and survival.”p.143
The book also acknowledges how the construction of financial literacy is complex.
The need to address the financial literacy of women and girls as a way to improve their financial empowerment, opportunities, and well-being was acknowledged by the G20 Leader’s Declaration in June 2012, and as part of a wider horizontal OECD project on gender equality. To read about the work being carried out in this work stream you can read the book – Women and Financial Education, by the OECD.
These are by no means light reads but they are important reads especially for Women’s History Month.
For a practical guide on incorporating feminine values into your business please refer to my essay “Financial Feminism in the 21st Century”.