The Feminization of Currency: A Marketplace Paradigm Shift


This story starts with a dream, one that was dreamt as a result of a business meeting in 2008.

I had dinner with NY Times bestselling author Simon Mainwaring on the night before he would be a featured speaker at The Conscious Business Network (CBN) – a Network I had established only months before. We talked about the current economic disaster and about his book, We First, which encourages consumers to utilize social media to buy products/services of companies that prioritize purpose, people and planet.

I went to bed excited about the CBN. As I fell asleep and began to dream, I found myself on a dark, cobblestone street, looking down narrow paths where horses pulled carriages. Suddenly, an intensely focused, black-hooded Simon galloped madly past me on a black horse. I nodded and said to no one around me “Oh, he’s the fourth horseman of the apocalypse.” Then I abruptly awoke. It was 4 am.

I had no knowledge of this reference, so I reached for my tablet in the dark. It turns out that in many versions of Biblical symbols of the apocalypse, the fourth horseman – who rode a black horse - represents the transformation of the global financial system.

Over the next decade, I partnered with leaders and executives leading significant transformation, and continue to engage in the evolution of the marketplace ecosystem – all the way to the bedrock of currency.

Through my work, I began to realize that the traditional paradigms and definitions of value, investment, currency and ROI were drastically changing. After some research, I concluded that their movement and direction distinctly honor what C.G. Jung called the “Feminine Principle.”

The Feminine Principle values openness, receptivity and creativity. It is the connective tissue of relationship, networks, processes, intuition and synergy. These qualities were not valued in business until technology showed, among other things, the power of relational networks.

One way technology imitates the Feminine Principle is in making how customers feel about transactions quite transparent through user reviews and satisfaction surveys. Millennials, now the largest consumer group in history, insist on such transparency as they vote with values of both positive product/service experience and a company’s beneficial community impact. Therefore, these reviews provide both informational and emotional data that have become the fuel and motivator for corporations to embrace engaged stakeholders in their ecosystem.

New marketplace values balance the scales of competition, which can now morph into innovative collaboration. The structures which previously defined the more powerful and the less powerful are more easily broken down, as technology has lowered barriers to entry. Furthermore, the marketplace has become fluid and ever-moving, relying heavily upon the intuition of its members to change course on a dime when new partnerships and other opportunities arise.

This line of thinking, that began with Simon Mainwaring, was forwarded by my work with Dorri McWhorter, CEO of YWCA Metro Chicago (Chi-Y). Five years ago, Dorri asked me to partner with her to rethink the YWCA’s 140-year-old non-profit paradigm and reimagine a new model of Social Enterprise. This included inspiring a new mindset among stakeholders inside and outside the organization and co-creating strategies and tools to transform the nature of engagement. Internal innovation would operationalize the model toward a thriving future for Chi-Y and all its stakeholders.

As we began the journey, I noted that the term “non-profit” was a values-created term. It first appeared in literature around 1900 when the marketplace was firmly planted in the “Masculine Principle,” as described by C G Jung. This Principle includes values such as structure, hierarchy, sequence, accounting, and profit – boundaries which enhance focus and bottom line success.

By contrast, social service agencies, which provided the same sort of service in which an unpaid, stay-at-home wife and mother might engage, did not produce clearly defined results as valued by the Masculine Principle. “Non-profit” was both a tax status that benefitted both donor and agency and a reference to the primacy of the bottom line.

Thinking about this in modern terms, it is equivalent to asking a business colleague about his profession and having him respond: “I work in a non-charity.” This response has no reference to the value of the work – it is merely a description of what is valued – in this case, charity.

When Impact Shares, an investment advisory service, partnered with the Chi-Y to create a gender-lens ETF on the Nasdaq last year, the YWCA became an advisor to the fund and for the first time in history non-profits have access to the capital markets through advisory fees.

The imagination and intuition that it took to recognize the unconventional connection between the YWCA and the Nasdaq and to invent the WOMN# ETF was only possible because Chi-Y redefined its own ecosystem and its potential impact to “make women ready for the marketplace and the marketplace ready for women” as part of its charter. CHI-Y continues to redefine partnership, revenue streams and currency in searching for other kinds of financial tools that reflect a more conscious value exchange.

Through my work with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which is part of the system that underpins our very understanding of currency, I have reflected on the Bank’s enormous responsibility and commitment to dynamically stabilize the tumultuous and evolving marketplace and world economy. It, too, is evolving to provide more interconnected, technological solutions.

While the Feminine and Masculine Principles are dynamically at work in both men and women, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus demonstrated the power of providing microcredits to women entrepreneurs. Not only did 98% of the women debtors pay back the loans, but they invested back to their communities in unprecedented ways. More recent research states that women entrepreneurs invest up 90% of their revenues back into their communities.

In addition, according to Market Watch, women now own $22 trillion in assets. By 2030, women will hold two-thirds of the world’s wealth. It is time to address this question more explicitly:

How is currency, value, investment and ROI being redefined by the collective influence of women and the Feminine Principle, and how can all investors more consciously and proactively use currency to shape a thriving future?

Discussion regarding these questions begin at the March 18th Conscious Business Network at 1871 and in at a Workshop March 25th. These discussions will gather ideas, increase knowledge and empower conscious choice about how we invest in our lives and the future.

Since my dream about Simon in 2008, I have wondered whether “apocalypse” refers to a breaking down of the old, rather than the end of times. Perhaps it is only the end of an economic paradigm as we have experienced it to date.

As the Feminine Principle radically transforms the financial systems to include values-based investments, conscious business and innovative ways to address social challenges, it expands the marketplace ecosystem’s relational network.

And, as we understand the explicit value that feminine energy brings to the table, eventually we can fully and creatively integrate The Masculine and Feminine Principles so that our conscious, dynamic marketplace can support a thriving future for all.


Therese Rowley, Ph.D.

As a skilled intuitive, consultant, and thought leader, Dr. Rowley supports leaders making strategic decisions with intuitive data and deepens their access to intuition. Her work with Fortune 500 and smaller company leaders in facilitating large scale change in industries such as telecommunications, manufacturing, market research, marketing/communications, real estate development, and financial services spans three decades.


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