Women have effectively internalized the messages that our society sends them about money, and the result is that the primary emotion so many of us feel about money is shame. At a time in which we openly speak about sex, money remains for women the final frontier of shame.
"It's to recognize that society sends powerful messages of what leaders look like, and those are hard to overcome; and that the drive to work with people like yourself is likewise powerful. ("He's a culture fit" can be code for "He makes me feel comfortable because he is like me.") We have to do something different if we truly want to unlock the performance potential of true diversity."
What we are only beginning to recognize is that demeaning and devaluing women is an insidious, expensive problem. It’s not just the eye-popping settlements in some cases, like the $32 million paid by Bill O’Reilly to settle a harassment claim. Nor is it just the high salaries network stars have been making while allegedly assaulting subordinates, like the $20 million, or more, for Matt Lauer. It only starts there. The bigger cost derives from how women’s ideas are discounted and their talent ignored. I have seen it up close in the two worlds I know best: Wall Street, where I was chief executive of Smith Barney and of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, and in Silicon Valley, where I’ve raised money to run my start-up, Ellevest. These places are perhaps the purest microcosms of capitalism, and their lessons are instructive for all of us.