Maddy Dychtwald

Own Your Money Like You Own Your Sexuality

In Guest Post on May 12, 2010 at 8:00 am

When it comes to attitudes towards money, are young women moving backwards?

One prominent author, Leslie Bennetts, at the April 27 event I attended for Maddy Dychtwald’s new book on women’s economic power, Influence, complained that young women she’d encountered were mostly interested in bikini waxes and how to get a man. I disputed that, but one finding in Dychtwald’s book did give me pause.

In the discussion that followed Dychtwald’s presentation, Bennetts described going on tour for her 2007 book, The Feminine Mistake and being profoundly disappointed in young women’s lack of interest in their own empowerment, economic and otherwise.

Though I’d argue that plenty of women are interested in it, when I actually got a look at Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World For The Better, I found a surprising passage that might have lent fuel to that particular fire. So I decided to call up Dychtwald to talk about it, which she was more than happy to do. (She’ll also be hanging out in the comments of this post today, so feel free to ask any questions.)

Dychtwald, a demographer, and her co-author Christine Larson provide a sweeping look at cultural shifts and changing demographics, arguing that they’re leading towards an “unprecedented economic emancipation.” Some of Dychtwald’s original research for the book included surveying 3,000 women about their attitudes towards money — control and leverage of one’s finances being rather crucial to economic empowerment — and put the respondents in five categories based on their attitudes towards their money. Those categories include “perceptive planners,” “power partners,” “alpha females,” “uncertain searchers,” and “supportive traditionalists.” (For a more detailed breakdown, see here).

She found that about 8 percent of all women in the survey fell into the “supportive traditionalist” category, the most passive and male-dependent one. But when it came to younger women — in their twenties in particular — the results were more dramatic:

Read Maddy’s full interview and readers comments here.


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