Women have become
the dominant engine of the economy worldwide, and are the primary
drivers of changing spending patterns and accelerating social change
across the globe. The "movement" has only just begun:
women will demand more, better goods, will grow economically, and
will take more leadership jobs.
Three key factors
are accelerating the rate of change:
• Career opportunities
• Politics and social leadership
of students globally are women. Educated women are becoming a relentless
force for equality, opportunity, and choice. In the US and EU, the
composition of students in college or higher education is skewed
towards female, with women composing 57% of students in the US and
55% in the EU.
billion working women worldwide generate approximately $9 trillion
in disposable income. Sixty million women in the income bracket
over $45 thousand a year generate almost half of this $9 trillion.
Over the past
ten years women have been joining professions traditionally held
by men in force. From 1997 to 2007, the composition of US lawyers
grew from 25% to 30% women, physicians from 22% to 29% women, faculty
from 32% to 39% women, and military from 12% to 14% women.
Disposable income defined as gross income minus social security contributions
and income taxes
Source: 2008 Euromonitor International; Human Development Report 2007/08;
women are gaining power at the top of corporate America, with significant
strides in the past ten years.
The 1997 and 2007 Catalyst Census of women corporate officers of top
earners; US Census bureau
a result of educational achievement and narrowing of the gender wage
gap, she will earn more on average than he by 2028 in the US. The
income gap is already reversing for young employees in large US cities,
as reported by the New York Times.
women earn more than young men in cities like New York, Chicago, Boston,
Dallas, Los Angeles and Minneapolis"
21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117
percent of men's wages, and even more in Dallas - 120 percent"
1970, New York women in their 20s made $7,000 less than men. In
2005, they were making about $5,000 more"
the gap reversal at work, women still bear the majority of the responsibility
for managing the home. The average woman spends 18 hours per week
performing household tasks like cleaning, doing laundry, preparing
meals, and managing household administration. Her share of the burden
is lower in emerging economies, where she has more help from family
members and paid labor than in developed economies. Yet a majority
of women in these countries still have at least partial responsibility
for each household task.
As a result,
women report the same top three challenges globally: managing her
household and finances, too many demands on her time, and not enough
time for herself. Specific priorities and tradeoffs vary based on
conditions in her country or region. Across geographies, managing
her household and finances is burden that dwarfs all other priorities
for lower income women.
and social leadership
At the same time, women are gaining a significantly greater voice
in politics. Over the past ten years, the US Congress has gone from
4% female to 16%, and the number of women US governors has grown
from 3 to 9. Similar changes are occurring in the EU. The French
national assembly went from 11% women to 19% women in the same time
majority of women around the world have a positive outlook towards
the future. They expect most aspects of their personal lives to
improve over the next five years. Across geographies and demographics,
they believe that the key factor in achieving their goals will be
their own hard work.
They also believe
that women will continue to close gaps in equality. The majority
of women from all geographies feel that women have not yet achieved
economic and social equality in their respective countries. However,
they also believe that in the next ten years, women will have achieved
more along the dimensions of education, professional opportunity,
and politics and social leadership: the primary drivers of social
and organizations that understand her and cater to her will win
long term. They must respond to her dissatisfactions, designing
products and services that deliver against her technical, functional,
and emotional needs. Finding ways to mitigate the challenges of
managing her household and finances or allow her to “source
time” to balance demands will be critical success factors.
Current industries that women identify as doing the worst job of
meeting her specific needs include financial services, healthcare,
and technology / electronics.
Every company or
organization should ask itself, are you
• Making listening and responding to her second nature?
• Delivering against her emerging needs?
• Thinking about the opportunity broadly enough?
this research, we hope to gain an understanding of these needs for
a diverse group of women from around the globe. Help us by clicking
below to take the survey.