There is a growing realization that women are the biggest emerging market ever seen globally.

More and more analysts and economists are drawing attention to the fact that women will be the key to success, growth, sustainability, and a competitive standing in businesses, governments, educational institutions, communities, and emerging markets around the world.

And though we are at a critical crossroad economically, politically, and globally, women we are on the cusp of changing the game.

And while I’m excited about the future for women, I’m not oblivious to the fact that there is still a journey ahead for us. There are some current realities that we must address:

Consider these startling statistics:

  • On average, women earn 77 cents to 89 cents for every dollar earned by men for the same jobs.
  • As soon as women leave business school they lag behind men by job level and in compensation and never catch up (a report released by Catalyst earlier this year). This is not a U.S. statistic. It’s a global reality.
  • This report surveyed over 4,000 alumni who graduated between 1996-2007 from MBA programs at 26 leading business schools in Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States. Women made on average $4,600 less in their first jobs and continued to be outpaced by men in rank and salary growth.
  • Additionally, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research revealed that men out-earn women in nearly every occupation where data is available (and there are over 500 occupational categories provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). For example, women administrative assistants earn 83.4 cents; elementary and middle school teachers earn 87.6 cents; and registered nurses earn 87.4 cents for every dollar that a man earns holding the same positions.
  • In the U.S. and European Union., most college students (57 percent and 55 percent, respectively) are women. Worldwide, almost half (49 percent) of college students are women.
  • Still today, less than 20 women serve on Fortune 500 CEOs and only four of them are women of color.
  • Women represent over half of the world’s population and 70% of the world’s poverty.
  • Gender inequality, polarization, and prevailing negative stereotypes remain a significant impediment to the upward achievement of women in the global workforce.

 

While there is still much to be done here’s what we can get excited about….

  • Women have made many other strides in the U.S. For the decade ending 2007, women increased their share of many prominent career positions: lawyers from 25% to 30%, physicians from Women In Business22% to 29%, and university faculty from 32% to 39%.
  • Women’s participation in the military during the same period also grew from 12% to 14%.
  • Almost all income growth in the U.S. over the past 15 or 20 years has come from women—while men have seen flat or even declining incomes.
  • By around 2028, the average woman is projected to earn more than the average man in the U.S. (Boston Consulting Group)
  • Over the next five years, the global incomes of women will grow from $13 trillion to $18 trillion. That incremental $5 trillion is nearly twice the growth in GDP expected from China ($4.4 to $6.6 trillion) and India ($1.2 trillion to $1.8 trillion) combined. (BCG)
  • By 2014, women’s income will jump by $5 trillion to $15.6 trillion.
  • Women own or co-own 40 percent of U.S. businesses.
  • Most important, globally, women control nearly $12 trillion of the overall $18.4 trillion in consumer spending.
  • By 2014, women will control $15 trillion.
  • By 2028, women will control nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of consumer spending worldwide.

 

So to NOT leverage the power, the strengths, and the contributions of women, it is a “going out of business strategy.”