Women are Changing How America Works

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One of the most profound changes in the U.S. economy in the last fifty years has been the emergence of women’s economic clout—as both breadwinners and consumers. Women and Diversity WOW! Facts, published by the Business Women’s Network, provides some thought-provoking reminders of what we’ve accomplished in half a century.

Marketing Clout

Did you know:

  • Women bring in half or more of the income in most households
  • U.S. women constitute the No. 3 market in the world; their collective buying power exceeds the entire economy of Japan
  • U.S. women buy the majority of products and services including: 82 percent of all groceries, 80 percent of health care, and 51 percent of consumer electronics
  • According to the National Home Builders Association, the number of female homebuyers has more than doubled over the last ten years
  • One in four women earns more than her husband
  • 48 percent of business travelers are female
  • Women head 40 percent of U.S. households with an income of more than $600,000
  • Women own 66 percent of home-based businesses

Growth of Women-Owned Business

Did you know:

  • Today there are more than nine million women in business for themselves, contributing more than $3.6 trillion to the U.S. economy
  • Women-owned businesses represent almost 40 percent of all businesses in the United States, employing 27.5 million people—more than all the Fortune 500 combined
  • The number of women-owned businesses jumped more than 43 percent over the last three years
  • Each day, 1,600 women become new business owners
  • Wells Fargo and Bank of America have launched billion-dollar loan funds targeted to women business owners

Progress of Women in Business

Did you know:

  • In 1950, women comprised 29 percent of the U.S. work force. Today that figure is almost 50 percent
  • In the 1950s, 20 percent of women with children under age 18 worked; today that figure is 72 percent
  • Women’s influence in the workplace has made flexible schedules a better retention tool than high salaries or stock options
  • The number of female construction workers has nearly doubled in the last fifteen years
  • In 1983, executive, administrative, and managerial positions held by women were at the 34 percent mark; today that figure is 46 percent

There is no doubt that women are well on their way to achieving equal opportunity at all levels of business life. Women are being promoted in every field and profession—from engineering to medicine, from pharmaceuticals to sports marketing. This is a perfect opportunity for us to pause and recognize what women have done, how we can set new goals, and why we need to continue to believe in ourselves without being daunted by the challenges that await us.

Related Story: Empowering Women to Earn What They’re Really Worth


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