Up until very recently, women were not able to invest on their own. In fact, most financial and property matters required the signature of a husband or male relative well into the 20th century. Despite these obstacles, women have long had a keen interest in growing and securing assets for themselves, their communities and their families.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we wanted to recognize a few of the many important female investors, and acknowledge the work that still needs to be done.
Abigail Adams (1744-1818)
Although we typically think of Adams as the First Lady to the second President of the United States, John Adams, and mother of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams, she was a strong advocate for women.
Although she could not technically invest on her own, she selected her family’s investments. She was a successful investor, maintaining the course even during rocky times. She also used her earnings for good. She didn’t just accumulate wealth for the sake of accumulating it. She used some of her earnings to support other causes related to women, as well as the abolition of slavery.
Geraldine Weiss (1926-2022)
Weis earned the nickname “The Grande Dame of Dividend” for her approach to focusing on a company’s dividends over its earnings. She grew up with an interest in investing and earned a degree in business and finance in 1945.
Despite her credentials, she was repeatedly told she was best suited for the secretarial pool. In an effort to overcome the assumption that a woman would not be a successful investor, she took on the professional pseudonym, “G. Weiss.” Under this name, she co-founded the newsletter, “Investment Quality Trends,” and most subscribers did not realize she was a woman.
Muriel Siebert (1928-2013)
Siebert earned the nickname, “The First Woman of Finance.” She was born in Ohio, and after visiting the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), she decided that she would work there one day. She eventually moved to New York City to fulfill her goal.
At the time, roles for women working on Wall Street were typically limited to secretaries and support staff. Siebert was able to obtain employment as a research trainee. On December 28, 1967, she became the first woman to own a seat on the NYSE.
Advocating for Women in Investing
I am grateful for the hard work of these women and countless others, but there is still much more to be done.
There remains a significant gender pay gap — it is estimated that in 2023, women are earning 77 cents for every dollar earned by white men. Women were more likely to leave the paid workforce due to COVID, and time will tell whether the pay gap will further increase as they return to work.
If advocating for women’s equality is an area of interest for you, there are things you can do.
If you’re serving on boards, inquire about the diversity of leadership of your suppliers, contractors and consultants. Ask how your organization is ensuring a diverse candidate pool for open positions. Inquire whether pay equity studies are being performed. Do you or your organization have an interest in socially responsible investing?
Getting the Recognition They Deserve
New Covenant Trust Company is committed to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion. We understand the value the contributions women bring to our organization.
I personally feel fortunate to work alongside exceptional women leaders every day, including our Vice President of Operations, Shonita Bossier, and Vice President and Director of Trust Relationship Services, Kim Pryor, among many others. I am also extremely proud that women have strong representation on NCTC’s Board of Directors. Our current Board Chair, attorney Karen Garrett, is an outstanding leader in both her field and the Church.
During Women’s History Month, it is with much gratitude that we recognize the accomplishments of all the women trailblazers. In alignment with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we pledge to continue to do our part to cultivate a culture of equity in all that we do.
If you’d like to learn more about Women’s History Month, visit womenshistorymonth.gov.