What We Know About Women in the Economy Today
Research from the World Bank, the United Nations, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and others demonstrate that the real drivers of the economy are women —as business leaders, employees, consumers, and entrepreneurs. Investing in women can yield a significant boost in economic growth, otherwise known as “the gender dividend.” When women are made the focus in business decisions, communities will thrive around them.
Below are some of the most important statistics available on women in the economy:
- Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn only 10 percent of the income and own 1-2 percent of the property.
- Women and girls suffer disproportionally from the burden of extreme poverty- they make up 70 percent of the 1.5 billion people living on less than a dollar a day.
- Outside of the agricultural sector, in both developed and developing countries, women still average less than 78 percent of the wages given to men for the same work.
- Globally, women represent 49.6 percent of the total population, but only 40.8 percent of the total workforce in the formal sector.
- Closing the gap between male and female employment rates would have huge implications for the global economy, boosting American gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 9 percent, Eurozone GDP by 13 percent and Japanese GDP by 16 percent.
- Women dominate the global marketplace by controlling US$20 trillion in consumer spending and that number is predicted to rise to US$28 trillion by 2014.
Below are some of the most important statistics available on women as business owners:
- There are approximately 187 million women entrepreneurs worldwide who own at least some of 32-39 percent of all private businesses in the formal economy.
- More women than men entrepreneurs introduce innovations (new products and services) in developed economies.
- In societies where women perceive they have the capabilities for entrepreneurship, there is a greater likelihood women will also perceive entrepreneurial opportunities. However, fewer women (47.7 percent) than men (62.1 percent) believe they have the capabilities to start and run businesses.
- According to preliminary research conducted by WEConnect International, women-owned businesses earn less than 1 percent of the money spent on vendors by large corporations and governments.
Recommended Action Steps
• Determine market/country to kick-off global program
• Identify and engage program stakeholders and local company advocates
• Integrate processes and tools
• Develop internal and external communications plan
• Provide ability for non-US diverse suppliers to register
• Leverage organizations such as NGLCC, NMSDC and WEConnect International
• Identify diverse-owned businesses in current global supply chain
• Determine non-US diverse spend and establish baseline
• Develop annual spend objectives (by country, region, division, etc.)
• Identify procurement opportunities and engage organization
• Measure success
— Diverse spend
— Success stories
• Engage prime suppliers
 World Bank Group “Women, Business and the Law” 2011 http://wbl.worldbank.org