Women challenging the status quo

A growing number of influential women are using their wealth to make a lasting, positive impact on society

05 Apr 2019

Key takeaways

  • Ultra high net worth (UHNW) women stress the importance of using wealth to create a positive and lasting impact on society, according to a whitepaper produced by UBS in partnership with IMD Business School.
  • Rethinking the concept of legacy, women of great wealth believe it is their responsibility to create change and instill values, not just pass money on to future generations.
  • UHNW women value humility over recognition for their impact efforts, the whitepaper notes.

A growing number of influential women are using their wealth to make a lasting, positive impact on society, according to a new whitepaper by UBS in partnership with IMD Business School. 

"UHNW women put impact first and humility before recognition," says Paula Polito, UBS Client Strategy Officer, Global Wealth Mangement. "They are also rethinking the concept of legacy, believing their responsibility is to create immediate change, not just pass money to future generations."

"Women are altering society's views on responsible leadership and shaping the future," says Josef Stadler, UBS Head Ultra High Net Worth, Global Wealth Management.

These are among the findings from the whitepaper, Perspectives from women of impact: Redefining legacy, based on interviews with 40 UHNW women. During the interviews, these women shared how they define legacy, what it means to give back and the importance of using their wealth to create a positive and lasting impact on society. Here are three of the things they said matter most to them:

Putting impact first

These women are doers, getting their hands dirty and working hard for causes they are passionate about, whether it be fostering family values, empowering vulnerable communities or spearheading business change, the report found. And they often bring people together to work towards a common goal.

Rethinking legacy

Contrary to the traditional notion of legacy, women of great wealth assert that legacy involves a responsibility to improve the world and pass on values rather than just financial assets to the next generation. They value driving change and fighting for causes they believe in, rather than just writing checks.

Humility before recognition

These women overwhelmingly did not want recognition for their work, preferring to work "discretely and purposefully 'under the radar'," the report found.

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