|The Economic Power of Women|
The World Bank calls investing in women “smart economics” because research shows economic growth for women has an important multiplier effect. Women are more likely to share their economic gains with their families and communities at large. Consider the following:
Women reinvest 90% of their income in their families and communities, spending more earned income on food, healthcare, home improvement and schooling for themselves and their children. Women produce 43% of the food in developing countries, however women are less likely to own land and own smaller amounts of land when they do. When women have the same amount of land as men, there is a 10% increase in crop yields.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%. This increase could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5-4% and reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17%, up to 150 million people.
Women own 40% of businesses in the U.S. and their businesses are growing at twice the rate of U.S. firms as a whole, yet women-owned businesses start their firms with roughly 64% of the capital levels of businesses owned by men. This has a significant effect on their success as businesses that start with higher amounts of capital tend to have higher levels of assets, revenues and employment.
Women entrepreneurs in the United States own over 10 million businesses and employ over 19 million workers, or one in every seven employees.
One in five girls in developing countries who enroll in primary school never finish. When 10% more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases on average by 3%.
A reduction in barriers to female labor force participation could increase America’s GDP by 9% and the Eurozone GDP by 13%. If rates of female participation in the labor force increased from their actual levels to predicted levels in the Middle East and North Africa, average household earnings would increase by as much as 25%.
To quote Half the Sky authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, "Women aren’t the problem. They’re the solution."
Center for Women’s Business Research