Posted by WAM NY Marketing Committee
By Melanne Verveer & Kim Azzarelli, January 25, 2013, as seen on The Daily Beast
Here in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum, much of the discussion is about economic growth. The International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagardeinspired those attending to focus on the power of what she termed “inclusive growth”: “the evidence is clear, as is the message: when women do better, economies do better.” Today, visionary companies that initially embraced this notion through corporate philanthropy are now making investments in women a pillar of their business strategies.
In recent years, investing in women has become more than inspiring rhetoric or good PR for a company. It’s now becoming a core business strategy yielding quantifiable returns. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in 2011, to “achieve the economic expansion we all seek, we need to unlock a vital source of growth that can power our economies in the decades to come.” By “increasing women’s participation in the economy and enhancing their efficiency and productivity,” the secretary said, “we can have a dramatic impact on the competitiveness and growth of our economies.”
These dividends come in part as a result of the growing economic influence wielded by women. In the United States, women control or influence more than 80 percent of purchasing decisions. Globally they are responsible for $20 trillion in spending, a figure expected to rise to $28 trillion by 2014. Goldman Sachs has found that it is women who are redefining markets and creating growth by focusing their spending power on purchases such as food, health care, education, clothing, consumer durables, and financial services. And, according to a Deloitte study, women’s earning power is growing faster than men’s in the developing world, where their earned incomes have increased by 8.1 percent compared with men’s 5.8 percent. As Muhtar Kent, the CEO of Coca-Cola, recently stated, “The truth is that women are already the most dynamic and fastest-growing economic force in the world today.”
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Posted by Praveen Prasad, WAM NY Chair
Bolivia is South America’s poorest country, with about 60 percent of the population of 9.1 million mired in poverty. The poor have inadequate opportunities to improve their human capital (e.g., through quality education, particularly secondary and above), despite recent progress in access to basic education. This results in low labor productivity and restricted access to better-paying jobs. Women in Bolivia do not live in conditions of equity with regard to men. Illiteracy among women is greater and women tend to have a low income generating capacity. The maternal mortality rate in Bolivia is one of the highest in the world. While, important progress has been made recently with regard to women's participation in economic and political decision making, there are still huge challenges for the poor in Bolivia to afford decent housing given the chronic poverty levels.
For Bolivians, housing is one of the most critical issues. This is an especially acute issue as more and more rural residents continue their migration into the major population centers of La Paz and Santa Cruz. Statistics show that out of the total population of approximately 10 million people, a majority of families live in sub-standard housing conditions in which many structures have no more than a dirt floor.
Follow Ingrid Vaca Diez, who is on a mission to build better homes for the poor. With few funds and little support, she uses the only resource she can find in abundance - empty plastic bottles. Her inspiring story of is yet another example of women leading their communities out of poverty and finding solutions to social and economic issues affecting the daily lives of the poor.
WAM NY Marketing Committee.