"When we liberate the economic potential of women, we elevate the economic
performance of communities, nations, and the world."
- Hillary Clinton
Women's equality and economic empowerment were top of mind as I prepared for a speaking engagement at the Women's Health and Economic Summit hosted by the Michigan Progressive Women's Caucus. As I researched, I learned my assumptions - that women are increasing their economic footprint through entrepreneurship and economic presence - were not too far off.
While there was a wealth of information on such topics, most of what I found on this topic was rather fragmented; thus, I have digested my findings into several quick insights.
1. Women are economic players on a global scale. Women currently control 51% of all of the personal wealth in the world. These assets represent $14 Trillion, and by 2020 women will control $22 Trillion in assets. Women also have purchasing power with around $20 Trillion in consumer spending, a value that will likely continue to grow in the future.
Globally, women control nearly $12 trillion of the overall US$18.4 trillion in consumer discretionary spending. In the next five years, women will control US$15 trillion. By 2028, they will control nearly 75% of consumer discretionary spending worldwide.
- Boston Consulting Group
2. More women are entering the economy.One billion women are entering the formal economy as employees and entrepreneurs. Women already represent half of the world's population and (depending on which way you look at it) about 40% of the global workforce.
Central to inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the urgent need to harness the economic potential of women – half of the world’s population. It is estimated that by 2020, 870 million women who have been living or contributing at a subsistence level will enter the economic mainstream for the first time as producers, consumers, employees and entrepreneurs.
3. Women represent one-third of the world's entrepreneurs. Canada and the U.S. have the most female entrepreneurs respectively while, not surprisingly, developing countries average fewer female entrepreneurs. Differences in local culture, access to resources and support networks, financing, and legal access can explain some of this variation.
What will the world look like when women reach their potential both economically and socially? Moreover (and something to discuss in another post), what footprint will millennials have as the largest generation in US history and their economic and social values? Perhaps as a global economy, the ripples of such demographic and socioeconomic shifts in power will provide more incentive to evolve and meet the expectations of such stakeholders. After all, history has consistently demonstrated German Prince Otto Von Bismarck's astute observation that "he who has his thumb on the purse has the power."