Today, I finally had the time to digest the entire report by Booz & Company on Empowering the Third Billion: Women and the World of Work in 2012. This report represent extensive research in over 120 countries on the impact of women in the next decade. The idea of the “Third Billion” represents the one billion women that will be added to the global economy in the next decade. The young girls, teenagers, students who will need support to fully reach their potential lest they suffer global setbacks that continue to plague women like inequality in pay, lack of proper childcare policies, lack of or insufficient maternity leave and even more importantly the universal idea that women are primary caregivers of the household.
These billion women are bound to face some challenges and in order to minimize or tackle this challenge, there needs to a political intervention, a call to action for all businesses, organizations, NGOs, and small businesses alike. Efforts to create a supportive system that allows women to gain grounds not just in developed and emerging countries, but also in developing countries must occur to fully reap the benefits of the next decade.
According to Angela Gurria, Secretary-General of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, “women are the most under-utilized economic asset in the world’s economy” . When one billion women enter the global economy in the next decade, we can either choose to empower and position them to play a significant role in the global economy, in a way that increases their financial power and consequently drive economic growth or we can choose to do nothing.
There are compelling evidence that reinforces daily the impact of women in the global economy. Women in the countries like the United States earn more academic degrees than men, yet they earn less than their male counterparts, are the primary caregivers, with lack or no maternity leave or decent childcare policies/support. Women continue to over-deliver yet get less than their fare share in return. This is all counter-intuitive especially since by the estimates generated by this report, women could have a direct impact on the GDP of the USA by 5%, for Japan 9%, 12% for UAE and 34% for countries like Egypt. Yet, we embrace the status quo and continue to discount efforts that increases opportunities available to women, and stubbornly refuse to release the cultural and political constraints that hold them back. This is a huge miss on the economic and social benefit that could be realized as a result of women empowerment.
Women are much more likely to save for and invest a large proportion of their income in their kids education. I am a prime example of that. I put aside some part of my paycheck in a college savings account because I want my daughter to reap the benefits of a world-class education. The result of these kinds of sacrifices that women make will be a generation of young adults who have a high social and economic impact for tomorrow’s future. Young adults who are empowered to tackle real challenges that we face in the world.
Part of the reason I set this blog up is to reach and meet like-minded women who are empowered and need to flex their confidence muscle to properly unleash their potential. It seems to me that so many women have the raw talent, the vibe but are lacking the tools to win big, both in their careers and as entrepreneurs. Some are even afraid to make the leap and thus wallow in the “will it work” for the rest of their lives.
To be continued…….
*PS: I am working on a start-up to combat this issue and to further ensure the success of women in the global economy and more importantly to offer tools that create financial freedom for everywoman everywhere, to make us all active economic change agents.