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What do we know about women in today's economy?

Investigations by The World Bank, the United NationsGlobal Entrepreneurship Monitor, Deloitte and Ernst & Young show that women are the real drivers of the economy as business leaders, employees, consumers and entrepreneurs.

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Investing in women can provide a great stimulus to economic growth, known as the "gender dividend". When they are the focus of business decisions, communities grow around them.

Below are some of the most important statistics available on women in the economy:

  • Women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn only 10% of the income and own 1-2% of the property.
  • Women and girls suffer disproportionately from the burden of extreme poverty- they make up 70% of the 1.5 billion people living on less than a dollar a day.
  • Outside of the agricultural sector, in both developed and developing countries, women still average less than 78% of the wages given to men for the same work.
  • Globally, women represent 49.6% of the total population, but only 40.8% of the total workforce in the formal sector.
  • Closing the gap between male and female employment rates would have huge implications for the global economy, boosting American gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 9%, Eurozone GDP by 13% and Japanese GDP by 16%.
  • Women dominate the global marketplace by controlling US$20 trillion in consumer spending and that number is predicted to rise to US$28 trillion by 2014.

Below are some of the most important statistics available on women as business owners:

  • There are approximately 187 million women entrepreneurs worldwide who own at least some of 32-39% of all private businesses in the formal economy.
  • More women than men entrepreneurs introduce innovations (new products and services) in developed economies.
  • In societies where women perceive they have the capabilities for entrepreneurship, there is a greater likelihood women will also perceive entrepreneurial opportunities. However, fewer women (47.7%) than men (62.1%) believe they have the capabilities to start and run businesses.[11]
  • According to preliminary research conducted by WEConnect International, women-owned businesses earn less than 1% of the money spent on vendors by large corporations and governments.

WEConnect International aims to connect women-owned enterprises with multinational buyers to ensure their success in global value chains. For this, WEConnect generates conscience on the key role women entrepreneurs play in global economic development and sustainability, trains and advises women to manage their business successfully, and connects them to business opportunities with large corporations.

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