MacroMonitor Market Trends Newsletter October 2020
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Women's Studies: By the Numbers
- The Social Progress Index reports that out of 163 countries, the top three (Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand) are headed by women. Germany, led by Angela Merkle, ranks 11; the United States ranks 28.
- Women head 34% of all US households (2018–19 MacroMonitor) and comprise 52% of all US adults; 59% work but, only 10% earn more than $75K annually in individually-earned income (MRI-Simmons fall 2019).
- In 2016, almost 10 million more women than men voted yet, only 24% of Congressional seats are held by women today.
- Women are financial decision makers in 60% of all households but, not until 2014 did a woman become chair of the US Federal Reserve.
- In 2019, women owned more than 11.6 million businesses, employed nearly 9 million people, and generated roughly $1.7 trillion in annual sales but, as of 2020 only 39 of Fortune 500 companies are run by women.
- Women are responsible for 70% to 80% of all consumer spending ($12 billion in Q2, 2020) but, only 5% of CFOs in large companies are women. Companies with women CFOs outperformed those with men by $1.8 trillion in profits so far this year.
- In 2019, 54% of workers in the financial and insurance sectors were women but, not until September 2020 did a woman become the CEO of a major Wall-Street bank. Only five women are CEOs of Fortune 500 insurance companies; one at an investment firm.
- Slightly more women (37%) than men (35%) now hold a 4-year college degree but, with the exception of pharmacists, women earn, at best, only $0.82 on the dollar in comparison with men.
October's Trend shows that until 2014, more single women than single men were employed. Only then does the proportion of employed, single men start to outpace the proportion of employed, single women. As of January 2020, Federal data show the number of women in the labor force to be greater than for men—by a slim margin but—a trend predicted to grow due to the continuing shift away from manufacturing to service. The post-pandemic labor market might look quite different from the forecast one would expect from the trend lines. Women might suffer disproportionately not only because of job elimination in some service sectors but also because of increased family caregiving responsibilities.
The progress that women have made in the past century has not been enough to bring about gender equality. For example, average income for all US HHs is $86.1K. In comparison, single-headed, employed women HHs' (Single Women) have a mean annual HHI of $53.2K; Single Men have a mean HHI of $77.9K. Why do men still earn more than women when slightly more women (2.4 million) than men (2.1 million) have a 4-year college degree or higher (15% of Single Women versus 12% of Single Men)?
Unfortunately, in our 'awakening' society, sexual harassment and violence against women haven't disappeared. Less hostile behaviors are pervasive. Microaggressions (brief, denigrating messages without thought to their impact) are part of everyday life and culturally accepted. Entrenched language bias—such as postman, chairman, congressman, and webmaster—are out-of-date and there are no gender-neutral alternatives. Many institutionalized transgressions are cited in Financial Time's 2019 Book of the Year: Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.
It's not just a-sign-of-the-times that more US companies show interest in women's issues and gender equality than previously. Increased interest can likely be attributed more to McKinsey & Company than to Hillary: "More women will control assets because of their longer life spans," (2018 McKinsey) versus "Women's rights are human rights" (1995 Hillary Clinton at the United Nations' Conference on Women in Beijing).
Women are finding their voice and using it with increasing consequence. The future of your business depends on how well your company listens and the appropriateness of your responses.
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