Women, The most Powerful Growth Driver of the global economy – It’s called Womenomics
Quite a few leading global economists and research institutions (McKinsey, Credit Suisse, Financial Times, Catalyst, etc.) share the opinion that the “feminine economy”, or “Womenomics” as defined by Newsweek in 1998, is the fastest developing market with the highest growth potential in the world today, even more so than emerging markets such as India and China.
Bearing in mind that until 100 years ago women were even unable to provide for themselves, one can understand the magnitude of the dramatic turnaround that “the other gender”(Simone de Beauvoir) has undergone – from complete economic dependence to a powerful economic force.
The DLD WOMEN conference held in Munich last summer, was attended by an impressive group of women leaders from around the world. Some hold senior positions at leading global companies (Ernst & Young, Apex, NATO, Google, Facebook, Strauss, etc.), others manage social or government projects, and the rest were young entrepreneurs, mainly in the Internet and technology spheres.
They all shared one strong exciting feeling – We are living in a new era, an era of limitless possibilities made possible primarily by technology. Personally, I believe that the change is also facilitated by new-media platforms, both social and communal, that shatter the control of old-guard media institutions, which have been setting the agenda for years, and allow new-female voices to surface
The reasons that women have become an economic force that can no longer be ignored, vary:
A. Taking over the Internet
The last two years have seen a massive entry of women into the Internet, using all tools extensively, and becoming a noticeable majority in all significant web channels such as Facebook (72%) or GroupOn (80%), and in e-commerce platforms (60% of online shopping is done by women).
The Internet is, undoubtedly, the next industrial revolution, with women gaining the most from it.
Time and space constraints don’t exist, allowing many women to set up their own businesses or work from home at any given time.
The rising power of women is also evident in setting public agenda. The digital media, that enables everyone to create contents, have a voice and influence, adds new intensity to the feminine voice, enabling them to place topics on the agenda that have been pushed aside by traditional media, such as family, relationships, education, mental health, child raising, and more.
Quintessential female blog platforms like Blogher, Glam and Saloona, are rapidly growing to provide women with a sense of strength, influence and recognition in their voices and power. In the last elections in the U.S. and the UK, numerous resources were invested in harnessing the Mommyblogs (mothers-bloggers) whose impact on public opinion has long been unquestionable.
2. Taking over institutions of higher education
Women are the educated majority in the world today. 60% of students in institutions of higher education are women. Even in Iran. But despite this, most of the world’s top managements, oddly enough, continue to recruit their future talents from among only 40% of educated men. Statistically, this reduces the chances of success.
3. Taking over the labor market
“Women have always worked hard, but now also get paid for their work”. This sentence was often said with the bitter smile of those accustomed to bear the burden of the family and are now taking on the mission of being their providers as well. All projections suggest that the fastest growing field in the labor market is support and service. In this field, women outshine men’s talents and performance outright, because of the fact that quintessential female attributes (communicative, verbal, empathic, attentive, etc.), are imperatives here.
Companies that foresee the future, understand well that growing a skilled female power, can have a decisive influence on their success.
Moreover, most procurement managers at leading companies today are women, and they decide which goods to buy, from whom and what quantities.
Women are also a rising force in the field of small businesses. One in three small businesses in the U.S. and Europe is owned by women. They yield $ 1.3 trillion in profits in the U.S., providing jobs to about 8 million people. This field, which produces the highest growth rates in every economy, thanks to the high profit margins and new employment opportunities, is increasingly dominated by women.
4. Taking over the shopping power
60% of U.S. car buyers last year were women, making them instantly the vast majority purchasers of fuel, vehicle insurance, tires, GPS devices and much more. In light of this, it is difficult to understand why car manufacturers continue their traditional practice of addressing men with half-naked women leaning against the car in a seductive pose. Someone must have fallen asleep in the marketing department.
60% of online shopping today is done by women. This includes electronics, financial services, tourism, vehicles and, of course, cosmetics and fashion.
Women’s level of education around the world is constantly increasing, and, accordingly, so does their level of income. The number of women earning ample salaries at senior executives levels is constantly increasing, and, likewise, the number of women who own independent businesses.
5. Taking over the global capital
Data provided by Credit Suisse shows that women today hold almost one- third of the global capital, namely about $20 trillion.They invest, buy, manage and engage in entrepreneurship in almost every field of business.
Irene Natividad, a beautiful energetic woman who chairs the Global Summit of Women, strongly argues that the economic activity of women is a basic prerequisite to the success of every economy at a global level. Therefore, such terms as “gender balance” or ” diversity” are neither a social nor moral issue, but a pure economic interest. And the sooner big companies and governments understand this, the more it will accelerate the global economy growth.
So the next time a woman goes shopping, we recommend treating her seriously. She goes to drive the global economy. Nothing short of that.