What impact would 1 billion women entering the global economy have on business?
That is something we are going to find out. Over the next 10 years, it is estimated that close to 1 billion women will enter the global economy for the first time. That number rivals the populations of China or India! These women will be entering the work force at at levels, from entry level to executives and entrepreneurs.
Where are these women?
The vast majority are in less developed countries where women have traditionally had less opportunity. Family, financial and cultural issues have traditionally denied opportunities for women in many areas. Countries are recognizing the potential of this part of their population and providing better access to education and work opportunities for women. One program launched by Goldman Sachs called the 10,000 Women Initiative provides business and management education to women in 22 countries.
What impact will this have on the global economy?
In the US, women have had a growing impact on the economy for many years. For the first time in history, women now hold the majority of jobs in the US. Women also own almost 40% of all businesses in the US, employing nearly 27 million people and with more than $3.6 trillion in sales. Women are growing the economy.
Women also control 65% of global spending making the majority of household decisions on purchasing. This increases to 80% of spending in the US. This is true economic power. As more women enter the workforce globally and start their own businesses, the global economy will display their impact. If female employment rates were equal to male, their GDP is estimated to increase by 9% in Japan and over 30% in Egypt.
Other advancements are evident. Women currently outnumber men getting degrees. For every 2 males that earn a bachelor’s degree, three women earn theirs. Careers that are more female focused are growing at a greater rate than those traditionally considered male dominated.
There will be growing pains, as evidenced by the attempted assassination of 15 year old Malala Yousufzai by the Taliban. This young woman has had the courage to stand up to tradition and promote educational opportunities for girls in Pakistan. She is opening doors and leading the way for other girls around the world. As more young women are educated they will enter the work force and provide depth to the global economy. Education is key to prepare women and girls to contribute to the global economy.
Kathy Handlos is a Communications Manager for Globe University. She has more than 10 years experience as a business owner and seven years as a business instructor and administrator. Kathy holds a BS in agriculture business from University of Wisconsin–River Falls and an MBA from Minnesota School of Business.