Women Flex Economic Muscle

I took a deep dive into data and research about the social and economic well being of contemporary American women and discovered six PowerLines through which influence currently flows to women. Click here to read why I went looking for this good news. Now it’s time to jump right in together, put on our truth goggles and swim with the statistics to really see what women are up to.

Get ready to bust some myths. Here we go:

Economic Muscle—The 1st PowerLine
  • Women bring in half or more of the household income in the majority of the United States.
  • Forty percent of women have salaries that outpace their husbands.
  • Women account for 50-60% of the private wealth in the country, or about $14 trillion. By 2020, you can expect that number to reach $22 trillion as wealth continues to shift from men to women.
  • Women make 80% of all household purchase decisions. This includes major purchases too, such as electronics, cars, financial investments, life, health and home insurance.
  • Women control or influence 67 percent of household investment (financial and banking products and services) decisions.
  • The number of wealthy women in the U.S. is growing twice as fast as the number of wealthy men.
  • Forty-eight percent of personal estates worth more than $5 million are controlled by women, compared with 35% controlled by men.
  • Sixty percent of high net worth women earned their own fortune. (Busting the myth that successful women only gain their wealth from men.)
  • Women account for more than 50% of all stock ownership in the United States.
  • The number of women who earn $100,000 or more has tripled in the past decade, making them the fastest-growing segment of wealthy individuals.
Are women—you—really doing all of this? You betcha.

Economic Growth Driven By Women

To help put this into perspective, here’s what others say about the picture painted by these statistics and the accomplishments that make them a reality:

“Forget China, India and the Internet: economic growth is driven by women.”—The Economist

“American women by themselves are, in effect, the largest ‘national’ economy on earth, larger than the entire (!) Japanese economy.”—Judith E. Nichols, Ph.D., author and CEO/Principal of New Directions in Philanthropy

“They say it’s a man’s world. But in the typical American family, it’s the woman who wears the pantsuit.”—Rich Morin and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research Center

“The female economy represents the largest emerging pool of wealth on the horizon.”—The Boston Consulting Group

“Fleishman-Hillard Inc. (global communications firm) estimates that women will control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. over the next decade and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history—compelling insight for anyone curious about who’s keeping the U.S. economy going these days.” — The Nielson Company

Here’s what I am not saying: I’m not saying money is the only way to control your life or that it is the only way to access individual or collective power. I’m also not saying money buys happiness. I think that points been proven many times over. Here’s what I am saying: I am absolutely saying, however, that the ability to have the choice to participate in the economy gives you the freedom to make many decisions in creating the life you want, however you desire. There is certainly more to this story than money. However financial independence works with the other PowerLinks to deliver the real promise of women’s influence.

Women Want Independence

But don’t take my word for it. Levi’s, the San Francisco-based apparel firm, conducted a study in 2010. Levi’s asked 1,000 20-something women in five countries about their experiences, challenges, and goals. Nearly all—96 percent—ranked being independent as their most important goal. When it came to success, 87 percent defined it as “being able to shape their future.” So, I’m also saying this: Financial and economic access is a stepping-stone to independence. And right now, women in the U.S. have access to and control more money than most people, including you, probably believe. Remember that 76% of Americans (men and women) believe men control more wealth than women, yet the Federal Reserve Board reports that women actually control over 50% of all personal wealth in the United States. Myth busted. Next up, the 2nd PowerLine: Women Make Magic With Money

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