Four Womenabling Numbers You Should Know

At the recent Enterprising Women of the Year annual gathering, I spoke to other members of the Editorial Advisory Board to update them on trends in women’s entrepreneurship around the world. This year, I shared four key numbers that every womenabler should know. Here they are for all of you to know and share as well: infogram4numbers

69

For every 100 male business owners there are around the world, there are only 69 female business owners. (SOURCE: Babson College, 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report, 2015)

392 million

The number of women business owners worldwide. (SOURCE: Womenable calculation based on data from the International Labour Organisation’s 2015 Key Indicators of the Labour Market report)

$285 billion

The estimated gender credit gap in developing economies around the world. (SOURCE: Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute, Giving credit where it is due, 2014)

$12 (or $28) trillion

The amount that would be added to global GDP if there were economic gender parity among all countries in each region of the world (the ‘best in region’ scenario, totaling $12T) or among all countries worldwide (the ‘full potential’ scenario, totaling $28T). (SOURCE: McKinsey Global Institute, The Power of Parity, 2015)

So, fellow womenablers, keep these four (or five) numbers at the ready. They not only indicate the amount of work we still have to do, but the benefits that will be realized once we approach economic parity. Onward and upward!

Global Gender Equality: We’re Not There Yet

As the captains of industry gather for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) symposium in Davos, Switzerland, it’s worth noting the parallels between that assembly and the WEF’s annual Global Gender Gap report. The WEF itself notes that less than one in five attendees at the Forum this week will be female (see Who are the women of Davos 2016?), up just 2% from two years ago.

GGG-2015-chartSo it is with the Global Gender Gap analysis. The 10th annual analysis was published in November, and the news release announcing the publication noted that women’s economic progress has “stalled markedly” over the past five years. In fact, the report’s authors note that, at the present rate of progress, it will be 118 (!!) years before we see economic parity between women and men – even though there’s been significant progress in terms of health and education. Political parity (more women in elected and appointed positions in the public sector) is even further away.

GGG2015-toptenThere’s been little change at the top over the past decade, with Nordic countries dominating the list. The top five countries: Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Ireland. At the bottom of the list of 145 countries analyzed: Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Chad, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the inaugural effort in 2005, the top countries (from among the 58 included that year) were: Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland.

To learn more, see how your country stands, and download the report and infographics, visit The Global Gender Gap Report 2015 web portal.

The Ten Most Womenabling Hashtags of 2015

It’s that time of the year … time for Top Ten lists! Womenable has joined in on the list-making since 2009, focusing primarily on the most noteworthy womenabling news, events and research of the year or – in the case of 2013 (the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988) – of the previous 25 years.

Last year, we departed from our usual practice, distilling the top womenabling news of 2014 down to the top research-based factoids/soundbites.

This year, our 2015 Top Ten list – in keeping with growing trend toward shorter and sharper communication – is distilled even further, focusing on the top women’s empowerment hashtags of the year.

Now, there have been many feminist/social issue hashtags (such as #BringBackOurGirls, #YesAllWomen, #EverydaySexism, and #MeuPrimeiroAssedio [myfirstharrassment]) as well as a few interesting corporate “You Go, Girl” hashtags (with corresponding well-produced videos: #LikeaGirl and #ShineStrong primary among them), but here we want to focus on empowerment as a social media conversation.

So here, in alphabetical order within the general topic of conversation, is Womenable’s assessment of the Top Ten women’s empowerment hashtags of 2015:

All for One/One for All: These three hashtags are focused on rallying fellow women – and men – in working together for greater gender equality.allforone

  1. #AllinForHer, an initiative of Women Moving Millions.
  2. #HeforShe, an effort launched by UN Women on #IWD2014 with the star power of Emma Watson.
  3. #IronSisters, an exhortation of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes for women to help other women, especially in non-traditional fields such as STEM.

Confronting Stereotypes: These three hashtags rose up from women responding to sexist stereotypes: the “boys with toys” notion that only men like technology or engineering, or to throwback ad campaigns.looklikeanengineer

  1. #GirlsWithToys, a social media response to an offhand comment from a male scientist, showing that girls like science, too.
  2. The misogynistic responses from a seemingly harmless company recruitment campaign prompted this hashtag response. #ILookLikeanEngineer is well worth a look.
  3. The feminist social media response from a “what were they thinking” ad campaign launched by a mobile phone company in India, #WhatWomenLove, is likewise well worth reading. (Also, this just in: IBM, normally a forward-thinking corporation with respect to gender diversity, is catching flak for an ill-thought-out hashtag campaign, #HackaHairDryer. Sheesh!)

Entrepreneurial Women: The only one of our top ten hashtags focused on women’s entrepreneurship, this social multi-media campaign gathered the stories of 1,000 women who are growing their own enterprising ventures.

  1. #1000Stories, from our friends at The Story Exchange

 

Where Are the Women?: These three social media conversations highlight the fact that women are still missing from many seats of power, and are underrepresented in STEM professions.

  1. How to solve challenges in science, technology, engineering and math? #AddWomen!
  2. It’s lonely at the top. A recent video from Elle Magazine in the UK, with the hashtag #MoreWomen, shows this in eye-catching fashion.
  3. The No Ceilings initiative from the Clinton Foundation showcases some of the tremendous progress being made worldwide in the area of gender equality, while admitting that we’re #NotThere yet.

 

Christmas Bonus: And here’s a special bonus hashtag, #PayGapWTF, a youth-focused response to learning that, yes, women are still paid less than men for the same work. WTF indeed!

Have we missed any? Let us know. Happy holidays from Womenable, and best wishes for a womenabling New Year.

Detours Ahead for Gender Equality in International Development?

There are two new reports (and one brief declaration) from the United Nations family of which we should all be aware – as they affect women’s economic empowerment efforts internationally. First, I’m sure that we’re all aware that 2015 is the year that the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals were to have been achieved. While much has been accomplished, those goals have not been achieved, and the focus is now shifting toward SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals.

roadblocks1Last year, the “Women’s Major Group,” one of nine groups involved in the process of developing the SDGs, issued a statement highlighting “8 Red Flags,” or shortcomings, of the SDGs, stating that they lack “real ambition for the urgent transformational change that the world needs to achieve gender equality.” And in late June, during negotiations for the “zero draft” of the SDGs that will be discussed at a UN Summit this fall, the Women’s Major Group issued a Ten Red Flags declaration highlighting areas that need to be strengthened in UN efforts moving forward, including that:

  • Gender equality and the human rights of women and girls must be recognized as a cross-cutting issue critical for the success of the post-2015 development agenda;
  • Commitments to human rights and inclusivity must be strengthened; and
  • Commitments to civil society and major group participation must be strengthened.

A good summary of the history of this issue is contained in the recently-published discussion paper, “Accelerating Gender Equality Through the Post 2015 Development Agenda,” from the Australian National Committee of UN Women.

There’s a civil society organization, beyond2015.org, with over 1,000 NGO members in more than 130 countries that have joined forces to ensure a strong framework for poverty alleviation and empowerment moving forward from the expiration of the MDGs.

Thirdly, every few years the United Nations publishes a look at the progress of the world’s women with respect to their health, education and legal empowerment. The latest in that series, Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights, was recently published. The previous reports are archived on this page.

The UN has also published data compendia (every five years, from 1990 to 2010) on The World’s Women. These reports, which contain a wealth of statistical data from around the world, are archived on this page and are well worth adding to your womenabling research shelf.

Women-Owned Businesses Continue to Flourish

Women-Owned Businesses Continue to Flourish

For the fifth year running, Womenable has combined forces with American Express OPEN to analyze trends in women’s enterprise growth and development. The 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses report (which will soon be published) tells us that:2015 SWOB charts.003

  • The number of women-owned firms in the U.S. continues to climb, and is now estimated to have surpassed 9.4 million enterprises – 30% of all businesses in the country;
  • The revenue generated by these enterprises is now estimated to stand at nearly $1.5 trillion, and has increased by 79% since 1997; and
  • Women-owned firms now employ over 7.9 million workers (excluding owners), providing one in seven jobs among privately-owned businesses.

In fact, since 1997 there have been an average of 608 net new women-owned firms launched each and every day – and the rate just over the past year stands at 887 per day. The number of women-owned firms is increasing at a rate 1-1/2 times the national average.

Where are we seeing these women-owned firms? The short answer – everywhere. Women-owned firms are found in every state and in every industry. The fastest growing industry sector is educational services, which has seen a 67% increase in the number of women-owned firms since 2007 versus an overall 21% increase. And the states seeing the fastest growth in women’s entrepreneurship are Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota and New York.women_diverse 900x550

And who’s starting these enterprises? Increasingly, women of every ethnic background. Back in 1997, there were just under 1 million firms owned by non-Caucasian women, representing one in six (17%) women-owned firms. Now, there are an estimated 3.1 million minority women-owned firms, representing one in three (33%) women-owned firms. Indeed, the growth in the number of African American, Asian American, Latina, Native American/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander since 1997 surpasses the growth in the number of non-minority women-owned firms several-fold. The growing diversity of women-owned firms is one of the most remarkable trends of the past decade.

The 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, like its predecessors, contains a wealth of empowering facts, figures and insights. The full report is being formatted now, but until it’s publicly available, click on the link below to download the summary tables, containing all of the statistics at the national, state, metropolitan, industry and ethnic group level.

Cheers, fellow womenablers!

2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses: Summary Tables

 

#MakeItHappen on March 8

March 8 marks the celebration of International Women’s Day. The observance began in the early 1900’s to support equal rights for women – including protesting employment discrimination, ending World War I, and voting rights. In early years the celebration date varied somewhat from country to country, but came to be marked on March 8 after a widespread strike in Russia on that date in 1917. And while, in early years the celebration was associated with socialism, its appeal has broadened and is now an official holiday in over a dozen countries. (Read a short history of the day here.)centredinternationalwomensday

This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is “Make It Happen.” The United Nations has a somewhat wordier theme this year: “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”.

There are now nearly 500 events registered in nearly 40 countries on the International Women’s Day information hub as of now, with over 1,000 expected by March 8. Check out the list and find out about an event near you – or organize your own.

And, don’t forget to share your #womensday activities on social media using the suggested hashtags: #makeithappen, #womensday, #internationalwomensday, #IWD2015, or #PaintItPurple. (Why purple? find out here.) Share photos, too. For photographic inspiration, check out this photo gallery assembled by Thomson Reuters.

Here’s to an inspiring International Women’s Day, during which you will make something happen!

Economic Inequality Costing Women Trillions

A report just out from UK’s ActionAid estimates the cost of inequality in women’s work around the globe, and it is truly staggering. The report, Close the gap! The cost of inequality in women’s work, released during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, puts the gender wage and employment gap at $16.9 trillion USD – including $9.1 trillion for women in developing economies and $7.8 trillion for women in developed economies. The gap takes into account both lower levels of women’s labor force participation and wages.Income differences between men and women

The report’s publication has been noted in a recent article in The Guardian and in an ActionAid-authored article on Thomson-Reuters. Let’s see if the gauntlet thrown down by the report’s call to action section are picked up by their intended audiences: not just economic policy-makers but businesses, civil society organizations and development institutions. Personally, while I’m not holding my breath, the publication of a quantifiable estimate of the financial cost to women of economic inequality is a significant step forward.