Women are wealthier than ever before. According to the Federal Reserve Board, we control the majority (51.3 percent, or $14 trillion) of personal wealth in our country, and 95 percent of us will be the primary financial decision makers for our families at some point in our lives, according to a Prudential Financial study. Nearly 40 percent of working wives now make more money than their husbands, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A first-ever study focusing on the giving habits of Christian women reveals that we're more generous than the average American, and we're even more generous than Christian men in our country. In fact, the balance in our bank account has little to do with our generosity.
While many of us live paycheck to paycheck and would hardly consider ourselves wealthy, "Directions in Women's Giving," the 2012 research project spearheaded by Women Doing Well in conjunction with the Sagamore Institute and Baylor University's Faith and Religion Institute, discovered that the most radical givers (those who give the highest percentage of their annual income) had the lowest median income range ($60-69,000).
As women are experiencing unprecedented wealth and power over money, could it be that more resources in the hands of more equipped women will mean a fresh wave of giving that will sweep across the world? This was the question that drove four women—Pam Pugh, Ann McKusick, Sharon Epps, and Sharla Langston—to get on the phone every Friday for months from all points across the country to pray together to discern what God might be up to with women and their wealth.
Pam Pugh and her three cohorts had all spent their careers in the financial and philanthropy sectors. "We were each making career transitions, so we came together as a group of friends from Los Angeles to Atlanta." After a couple months of praying, each woman began to sense a deep inner calling to engage women in this time of growing influence and affluence to help them be free to live and give in God's image. The prayer was really simple," says Pam. "It was, 'Lord, show us your heart for women.' This prayer took us off on the roller coaster ride of our lives," she says.
Within three months the four women formed Women Doing Well for the purpose of commissioning a research study on Christian women and their wealth, a first of its kind. The study was conducted by Dr. Amy Sherman of the Sagamore Institute and Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.