The cover story headline on Forbes magazine, America’s Richest Self-Made Women caught my attention. Surely, the stories of the sixty women listed would shine a light on women and money. It did, though I’m not sure that what I saw will make social engineers happy.
Here are some sentences from the top four bios:
#1) Ilitch and her husband, Mike…cofounded Little Caesars pizza… (Marian Ilitch)
#2) The Wisconsin native cofounded the business with her late husband, Ken… ( Diane Hendricks)
#3) She and her husband, Tom, first leased a gas station… (Judy Love)
#4) Fisher and her husband, Don (d. 2009), opened their fashion retailer, Gap… (Doris Fisher)
Do you see a pattern here? #5, Oprah Winfrey, as well as #6, Judy Faulkner, have no men in sight while #7 reverts to the previous model. I am curious enough to plan to read the rest of the biographical snippets, and a sociologist might draw up an interesting chart referencing age and location, but to me the message was not surprising. In the world in which I live, husbands and wives are partners, whether or not both names are on incorporation papers or both spouses are active in all of the same activities. Together the couple accomplishes what only one person couldn’t, both in the financial and family realm.
On a list of America’s sixty richest self-made men, I would expect the majority to be in lasting marriages as well. Their wives are fully their co-partners, even if the wife isn’t directly involved in the profitable business. Rather than encouraging men and women to “go it alone,” there probably would be more wealth all around if we provided resources and cheering squads to facilitate successful marriage. Instead the thought makers and idea generators of society do all they can to pit men and women against each other, turning them into adversaries.