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Supporting women to pursue higher education and find meaningful work have been proven to have a positive impact on their families, their community and the economy. A study by UNESCO indicated that for every year a country’s average year of schooling increases, the country can expect long-term economic growth by as much as 3.7%. Today, there are more social enterprises, celebrities, and philanthropists dedicated to empowering women than a decade ago. And influential leaders such as Jack Ma, Richard Branson, and Kevin O’Leary have also championed the narrative for more women in leadership and management positions.
With so much support in today’s political and social climate, the movement has gained momentum. It might even receive the full backing of the law with the re-introduction of the Paycheck Fairness Act this year. And that’s good news because having more educated women empowered to work might be the key to rebuilding communities and creating sustainable local economies.
Women Create Healthier Working Environments
Having more females in the workplace has been linked to overall improved productivity and organizational health. A gender diverse office tends to be less aggressive and more collaborative. A study by the Center For Creative Leadership found that having women in the workplace actually increases the level of job satisfaction and dedication in the organization.
Additionally, employees in organizations with a staff consisting of 45% or more females reported having fewer burnouts and find their work more meaningful. Those same organizations also tend to have higher engagement among employees and higher overall employee retention. Having a more gender diversity in the workplace can help create a more supportive and human-centric environment that encourages employees to look after one another.
They Help Businesses Thrive
Rebuilding a neglected neighborhood will mean being able to keep the door on most of the local businesses open. Studies have shown that companies with a higher concentration of female workers reported improved workplace morale and also increased the bottom line. That’s especially true if there are females in leadership positions in those companies. A study conducted by the Peterson Institute of International Economics suggested that companies with 30% or more females in leadership positions can yield as much as six percent more profit. Building a diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t just good for the community, it’s also good for business.
Alibaba, China’s biggest online e-commerce company with a net worth of over $84 billion, is a great example of how a company’s focus on building an inclusive and supportive culture for women greatly affected their financial success. The company claims over 34% of its senior management are females. Alibaba workforce also claims to have over 40% females. Jack Ma, the previous CEO of Alibaba, once said, “If you want your company to be successful, then you should hire female workers!”.
They’re More Likely To Get Their Family Out Of Debt
Families living in recovering communities are often weighed down by economic burdens such as neglected mortgages, high-interest loans and unpaid debt that keeps them from being financially stable. However, that may not be the case if the women in the household made some of those financial decisions.
According to Bankrate, men are 4.3% more likely to carry debt than women. Men also are more likely to fall behind on their mortgage and spend more than their credit allows. Women, on the other hand, are 67% more likely to seek credit counseling than men. And post-counseling, women are more likely to follow through with payments and eventually be out of debt.
They’re The Best Consumers
And in a recovering area, it’s the small businesses that are more connected with residents. Signs of local businesses doing well signal a neighborhood that’s growing and invites more small businesses to open shops there. And on the contrary, when small businesses close their doors, it’s a signal for a decline and morale plummets.
Contributing to over seven trillion dollars of annual consumer spending in the U.S., and responsible for over 83% of consumer purchases, it’s no secret that women are the biggest and best consumers by far. They’re likely to shop for the entire household and for the entire month. And in underrepresented areas, women are more likely to purchase from local businesses, keeping the doors open. Consequently, their spending habits and where they choose to spend their wages result in a thriving local economy, one that also is supportive of small business owners.
They Reinvest Back Into Their Communities
Women are more likely to invest their time and money into cleanup and restoration efforts so their family can utilize those amenities. And they’re also more likely to be an active member of the community to regularly participate and voice their opinions on matters that affect their neighborhood. According to the Clinton Global Initiative, working women around the world are likely to invest as much as 90% of their income back into their family and community as compared to the 35% of men. That’s not to say that men are wasting 55% of their income, but instead pointing out that income generated by women have a more direct and positive impact on families and communities.
The positive impact of investing in women has been well studied, documented and conclusive. Although much progress has been made to enable and educate women in underserved neighborhoods, there’s still more work to be done. It will be up to employers and local city government to collaborate and support the women in their city. And in doing so, give the neglected community a fighting chance to rebuild.
April 26, 2019 at 03:44PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs