By Deborah Spector
The Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta promotes social change for Jewish women and girls through effective grant making, education and advocacy. And we empower women to be leaders, philanthropists and decision-makers.
Our educational seminars address the underlying obstacles that impede the full participation of Jewish women and girls in society. And they provide the information and tools necessary to do so. Our latest seminar, “Take Your Seat: A Jewish Woman’s Guide to Financial Empowerment and Protection,” focused on financial literacy and empowerment.
Featured speakers Abbey Flaum, a partner at Cohen Pollock Merlin & Small, and Emily Sanders, the managing director of United Capital Financial Advisers, educated participants about the importance of taking an active role in managing one’s finances, even if a spouse, parent or child usually makes the family’s decisions.
Surveys show that women do not feel as confident as men in their ability to handle money. According to a Women & Money Magazine survey, 50 percent of women find it difficult to talk with others about personal finances, and just one-third of all women have a detailed financial plan. For women ages 25 to 34, that number drops to 10 percent.
Barbara Stanny, a best-selling author and leading authority on women and wealth, said: “If women are really going to change the world and make a difference, they need to understand money.”
Emily and Abbey generously shared their knowledge and provided numerous situations that the panelists had encountered to emphasize that it is incumbent upon women to become more knowledgeable and involved in family financial planning.
Jewish women’s empowerment is affirmed in the Torah. In the Book of Numbers we find Parshat Pinchas, which contains the first story of Jewish women’s financial empowerment. After Zelophehad died, leaving no sons, his five daughters went before Moses, Eleazar the priest and the Jewish people and advocated for their rights to inherit the land their father left behind. G-d instructed Moses to grant the daughters their land and set the precedent that women ought to inherit a father’s property if he left no other direct kin.
This is an enormous moment for Jewish women’s empowerment, and this story is applicable today. Like the daughters of Zelophehad, women in today’s society face significant obstacles to equality.
By raising our collective voices, the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta continues to ignite the flame of social change.
Deborah Spector is a founding trustee of the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta.