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 reveal truths about money and gender–that asking for and even accepting money comes more naturally for guys than for girls.
I got an illuminating email yesterday from Christina Brodbeck. She’s a Silicon Valley angel investor who was one of YouTube’s 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.”