Mad Money

Ellevest's Sallie Krawcheck says the economic crisis has caused a 'she-cession'

Key Points
  • "The she-cession is what we're in, which is a recession in which women are disproportionately hurt" given their roles in the workplace and at home, Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck told CNBC.
  • "Sadly, women went into this downturn with 32 cents of wealth to a White man's dollar," and Black and Brown women are "going backwards at a greater rate," she said in a "Mad Money" interview.
  • "You can't be for equality for women if you're not also anti-racist working for equality for Black and brown women, women of color," she said.
VIDEO2:4002:40
Ellevest CEO breaks down how the economic downturn has impacted women

Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck in an appearance on CNBC Monday broke down multiple ways that the economic crisis stemming from the global pandemic is impacting women, especially women of color.

Ellevest, a privately held digital investment advisory for women, has shifted its focus to promote racial justice and address economic inequities that leave Black and Brown women particularly vulnerable.

"The she-cession is what we're in, which is a recession in which women are disproportionately hurt" due to job losses, work-from-home productivity and "risking their lives to a greater degree" by serving a larger share as essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic, she said in a "Mad Money" interview.

The impact is even greater on Black and Brown women of color, she said. Minorities, particularly minority women, take on an outsized burden of intersectionality, considering the disadvantages that come along with the categorizations of race, class, sexuality and gender.

"Sadly, women went into this downturn with 32 cents of wealth to a White man's dollar," she said. "For Black women [and] Brown women, 1 penny of net worth to a White man's dollar, and, unfortaunley, [they] are going backwards at a greater rate."

Krawcheck is renowned in the investment community for leading Merrill Lynch Wealth Management as the U.S. emerged from the Great Recession. She co-founded Ellevest in 2015.

The idea of a "she-cession" was coined by C. Nicole Mason, the head of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, in comparing the impact of the coronavirus-induced recession on women to the Great Recession's disproportionate impact on men — then called a "man-cession" — between 2007-2009. That downturn particularly hurt the construction and manufacturing industries that are dominated by male workers.

The ongoing pandemic has most affected the travel, education, health services and retail sectors, where women are more likely to labor in, Ellevest explained in a press release.

While Ellevest's mission is to empower women with money management skills and financial planning services to close the gender wealth gap, the company is trying to play its part to dismantle white supremacy, she said. That includes by fixing the leadership within its own ranks.

Among its top brass, the positions are filled by 70% women, 30% of people of color and zero Black people, Cramer cited. She said it's important for Ellevest to have "diversity of all kinds so voices are fully represented at the table."

"We can't solve this problem for all women if we don't have the representative voices at my leadership table," Krawcheck said.

Ellevest is also focused on helping women direct their spending toward like-minded causes, including in anti-racist ways.

"You can't be for equality for women if you're not also anti-racist working for equality for Black and brown women, women of color," she said.

VIDEO7:0307:03
Women-focused finance firm Ellevest CEO on the 'she-cession' and improving diversity among its ranks

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