A Purse Full of Dollars: How Women Changed the World with Money

The Buy Up Index is all about using women's dollars to create change. So to celebrate Women's History Month, we decided to honor those who came before us. Some of our forebears realized that money could bring them a bigger serving of equality and make things better for those who followed. Even if we may not have the fortunes that some of these women controlled, by amalgamating our buying power, we can also direct meaningful change.

We found some surprising stories of women who used their capital powerfully. Born a slave, Mary Ellen Pleasant leveled the playing field for herself with money and used it to fund John Brown's raid, as well as the Underground Railroad. After making a fortune on "Gone With the Wind," Margaret Mitchell gave many scholarships to Morehouse College students, gifts she had to keep quiet in racist Atlanta. Even back in the nineteenth century, Victoria Woodhull understood that money got her a seat at the table and a shot to really change things. She used her fortune to start a political party and run for president. In her magazine, she went after corruption, including a powerful but adulterating preacher and dirty businessmen. Many know of Mme C.J. Walker, but she actually learned the business from Annie Malone, a businesswoman who started the first schools for African American cosmetology on top of running her hair product company — with a radically African name.

In the spirit of Pleasant, Woodhull, Malone, and Mrs "Frank" Leslie, use your dollars for change. Download Buy Up Index today and start shopping for equality.