The New Silk Road
It’s standing room only at Bloomberg in the financially embattled city of New York. I am pressed between rows of hedge fund managers, financial analysts, and investors as the National Council for Research on Women unveils a new report on women in fund management.
In that corporate glass-walled room, the murmurings I have been hearing over the last six months are confirmed: Women manage money differently, and had there been more women at the helm of investment decisions all along, the worst of the global financial meltdown might have been averted.
The report finds that women—in charge of just 3% of hedge funds and 10% of mutual funds—are more patient and consistent with their investments. They are less apt to take overconfident risks and more likely to integrate detailed and conflicting data into their decisions. Moreover, women-owned funds are more stable and consistently outperform general funds with higher returns.
As I watch these women fund managers speak about the critical mass of women leaders required for sustainable financial systems, I know I am witnessing an historic moment. The words I am hearing are indicators of a much larger economic metamorphosis to come.
Today we have a new trade route opening up—a kind of “Silk Road” of knowledge and ideas. The communications revolution is accelerating a living exchange of information, medicine, technology, and culture—breeding innovation across borders—not unlike the ancient silk routes of the past.
As they gain influence and access, women are using these opened passageways to carve new routes bearing treasures of wisdom and collaboration that are transforming our economic systems. The hot commodities are no longer textiles and spices—they are the shared values of caregiving, healthy ecosystems, spiritual well-being, community, beauty, and complex diversity. Along this new silk road of women’s economic leadership, global spending priorities fundamentally shift and the true shareholders become our children.
In these pages you’ll read the fresh thinking of economic visionaries, women reinventing businesses, and girls on the frontlines of a youth revolution. And on PulseWire, our online community newswire, you can travel a silk road of your own by importing and exporting ideas with women from over 130 countries.
Through the rising pulse of women’s voices, what was once degraded is becoming sacred. What was taken for granted is celebrated. What used to register zero sum on the balance sheets is creeping upward. Past paradigms that left us all feeling hollow will start to feel fulfilling. ●