It’s a SHEconomy!
“Forget China, India and the internet: economic growth is driven by women” The Economist, 12. April 2006
Globally, women control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion in the next five years (Ipsos, Sep. 2018). In aggregate, women represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined (Ipsos, Sep. 2018).
But, women remain severely under-represented at the top of organisations.
Of the CEOs who lead the companies that make up the 2018 Fortune 500 list, out today, just 24 are women. That number is down 25 percent from 2017 record-breaking 32 female CEOs, the highest share of women since the Fortune's first 500 list in 1955. While women were at the helm of 6.4 percent of the companies on 2017's list, that number is now down to 4.8 percent.
And as The Wall Street Journal recently found, women CEOs still get paid a fraction of what their male counterparts earn. Women still earn substantially less than men on average, not only in United States where women earned 81.8% of what men earned in 2017, based on the median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers (Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Table 39: Median Weekly Earnings of Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers by Detailed Occupation and Sex," Current Population Survey (2018).), but also in Denmark (which has a 15 percent wage gap) and in Japan (women there earn 73 percent of what a man does), (OECD, “Gender Wage Gap.” 2018). Among OECD countries, Korea has the widest gender wage gap at 36.7%, followed by Estonia at 28.3% and Japan at 25.7% (OECD, “Gender Wage Gap.” 2018).
Narrowing the gap between female and male employment could make a big splash.
OECD estimates suggest that closing the gender gap in OECD nations would add 12% to the gross domestic product. Closing the gender gap in Japan would add around 20% to GDP in 15 years, and just narrowing it by 50% would add around 11% to GDP, according to OECD estimates.
Women control about 70-80 per cent of the world's annual consumer spending.
Women are the world’s most powerful consumers, and their impact on the economy is growing every year. The EY (ey.com/women, 2013) report says by the year 2028 women will control about 80 per cent of discretionary spending worldwide, and women will own about a third of all businesses around the world. Women are the world’s most powerful consumers, and their impact on the economy is growing every year. The global incomes of women are predicted to reach a staggering $18 trillion by 2018, according to global professional services firm EY (ey.com/women, 2013), that $US5 trillion leap is almost twice the growth in GDP expected from China and India combined (Bloomberg, Bridget Brennan from Forbes, 2018). Women account for an increasing proportion of the total economy, and there is evidence to suggest that having women in top management positively effects the performance of an organisation.
A McKinsey report, by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) examines the economic implications of the lack of parity between men and women. It mapped gender-equality indicators for 95 countries – which fall into four categories: equality in work, essential services and enablers of economic opportunity, legal protection and political voice and physical security and autonomy – and found that 40 of them have high or extremely high levels of gender inequality. The report says if all countries match the rate of improvement of the fastest-improving country in their region, it could add as much as $12 trillion, or 11 per cent, in annual 2025 GDP (McKinsey Global Institute, 2015).
Women have a multiplier effect. They are multiple markets in one. Because women serve as primary caregivers for children and the elderly in virtually every society in the world, women buy on behalf of the people who live in their households, as well as for extended family (such as older parents and in-laws) and friends (Bloomberg, Bridget Brennan from Forbes, 2018). The person who makes a sales transaction isn’t necessarily the decision maker. Even if a woman does not earn a paycheck, she is likely the gatekeeper to her household’s expenditures friends (Bridget Brennan, from Forbes. Licensed by Bloomberg, 2018).
But business is slowly making change, as it realises the potential of the "SHEconomy".