There’s no way to sugarcoat it: 2022 was a rough one. From the attacks on women’s rights, to a tumultuous stock market, to historic levels of inflation (which hits women hardest), to the threat of recession (ditto), to layoffs across industries, to the implosion of crypto, it’s been … something.
How much has it impacted women?
This fall, in the midst of everything, we launched the Ellevest Women’s Financial Health Index. And it showed us that women’s financial health has been under pressure from these external events: In fact, the index registered its lowest levels for the past five years. Lower than even during the pandemic.
Amid so many challenges, where can we find the hope we need to see us through into 2023?
At Ellevest, this is something that’s always on our minds.
And here’s the hope: It’s that women are taking action. Some in big ways; many in small ways.
Women are doing it by funneling millions into abortion funds. By showing up to the polls when pollsters bet against us. By supporting other women: We saw this at Ellevest when two-thirds of our milestone Series B raise was funded by women and other underrepresented investors.
In that spirit, it’s important to remember, too, that change doesn’t always happen overnight; but small changes can compound on themselves. As Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson reminded us when she was sworn in this summer, “It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we've made it.”
Her appointment wasn’t the only incremental change we saw this year. Women made inroads in even the toughest times, from economists like Susan Collins and Cecilia Rouse to appointees like Shalanda Young, Marilynn Malerba and Karine Jean-Pierre. Serena Williams used her platform to redefine retirement, Rihanna used hers to invest for impact, and the US Women’s National Team used theirs to finally close the gender pay gap in soccer.
And now for our investing analogy (because we just can’t help ourselves and because the analogy actually works really well here): First off, we all should know that “past performance is no guarantee of future results”— and so we know we can’t take any additional wins as a sure thing. But at Ellevest we also believe that the smartest way to invest is to make small, consistent contributions over time, building toward a bigger goal later on, harnessing the power of compounding. (2022 once again showed there is no reliable way to “get rich quick” – we’re looking at you, NFTs – but that tapping into the power of compounding remains a means to “get rich slow.”)
You’re living this. Even in 2022 – and even as your financial health was under pressure – so many of you demonstrated that you know that this is a long game: 75% of women we surveyed back in September said they kept investing despite market volatility.
The same approach — of small wins compounding into something much more meaningful — also goes for social change.
We have to believe in us: Trusting the process — not the systems that tell us we need to wait – but in the persistence of women making small moves that compound over the long term. Whether you’ve been pushing forward for years or are just getting started, we’ll be here for you every step of the way.
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