Women Are the New Economic Powerhouse

Article excerpt

We've seen amazing technological and political evolution across the past century, but the single most powerful economic change has not been caused by technology or the rise of developing nations. It has been created by women.

A hundred years ago, the world looked very different. Cars and telephones were scarce, television not invented and apples were just a tasty fruit. Women couldn't vote, own property or even open a bank account in their name. Education was available primarily to wealthy women, and a woman's path to personal success was often extremely limited.

Even with all that technological and global change, women's influence has had an even larger impact on our economy. The Economist in 2006 wrote that over the past two decades, "women have contributed more to global GDP growth than have either new technology or the new giants, China and India." And that's just the beginning.

Last year, 72% of all high school valedictorians were women. For every 100 men graduating from college, there are 133 women, giving women the tools to succeed in the new economy. And they are. For the first time in history, women make up more than half of the workforce. While men's earning power has remained flat over the last several decades, women's earning power has grown exponentially. In fact, today nearly a quarter of wives outearn their husbands.

SUPER SPENDERS

And women are taking that earning power and spending it in the marketplace. In fact, women represent a whopping 83% of consumer purchases, including 90% of food purchases, 80% of healthcare spending, 93% of overthe-counter pharmaceuticals. 55% of consumer electronics, 53% of stock market investments and 62% of new car purchases. They're the primary market for just about everything.

With increasing speed, women are unleashing their influence to reshape our world. For example: in the United States, women start their own businesses at twice the rate of the national average, and are the leaders in bringing our country out of the recession. In developing nations, 90% of women who earn income reinvest it in families and communities - by sending kids to school or buying clean water and electricity for their communities - compared wim only 30% to 70% of men. …