Postcards

How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

A tech entrepreneur's take on women and money

April 20, 2011: 12:42 PM ET

by Patricia Sellers

Monday's Postcard, asking "Are girls afraid of money?" is the blog post that keeps on giving.

Thanks, Postcards readers, for your spirited comments about Susan Wilson's Guest Post, in which she described placing $20 bills on random desks in a classroom at Georgetown University. The female students who walked into the room ignored the money--and wouldn't sit anywhere near it.

Some of you found Wilson's impromptu experiment bogus.

Fair enough. Others who commented on Monday's Postcard and Tuesday's follow-up post contend that the results revealĀ  truths about money and gender--that asking for and even accepting money comes more naturally for guys than for girls.

Christina Brodbeck Credit: Jasson Schrock

I got an illuminating email yesterday from Christina Brodbeck. She's a Silicon Valley angel investor who was one of YouTube's (GOOG) first employees and is now about to launch theicebreak.com, a website to help couples build better relationships.

Brodbeck emailed this about Wilson's $20 bill experiment:

"The Postcard was great! It got me thinking...

1. I probably wouldn't have sat at one of the desks with money on it.

2. I think women, in all areas of life, tend to ask the question 'why?' (i.e. 'Why did he say this?', 'Why is this happening?', 'Why me?", etc.) instead of just taking things at face value. In this situation, I would have wanted to know 'why' the money was there and 'why' do I deserve it...before even considering sitting down at the desk with money on it.

3. I think women very much want to receive something (like money) based on merit--or as the article mentions, some sort of rules.

I would love to see this "experiment" repeated with boys!

Speaking of boys, Brodbeck's idea for her startup, theicebreak, was sparked by her relationship with her boyfriend, Kurt Collins, a fellow Silicon Valley entrepreneur. About the $20 bill experiment, she said in her email: "Btw, I asked Kurt what he would do, and he said that he would sit at a desk with money. Hehe."

Fortune's Most Powerful Women
Fortune's Most Powerful Women For the latest on the most influential women in business, philanthropy, government, and the arts, like us on Facebook.
Guest Posts
Fortune Most Powerful Women Fortune Most Powerful Women The rolodex that redefined power
Profile in The Washington Post
Sheryl Sandberg: Sheryl Sandberg: Don't leave before you leave
COO of Facebook
Wendy Clark Wendy Clark Exec learns firsthand how the homeless live
SVP of the Global Sparkling Brand Center at Coca-Cola
Video
Marissa Mayer's 3 biggest decisions as Yahoo CEO With company stock up over 100% since she began running the company 16 months ago, Mayer reflects on her choices to date. Watch
Chelsea Clinton on running for office: 'I don't know' The vice chairman of the Clinton Foundation talks about her diverse career path and growing up in the spotlight. Watch
MPWomen go Global

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership brings rising-star women from countries around the world to the U.S. for three-week mentorships with participants of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit - among them Ursula Burns of Xerox, Laura Lang of Time Inc., Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, and Tory Burch.

Read more

Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.