Some Food for Thought – Women make business sense

  • Women are a powerful driver of economic development as evidenced by economic analyses of the World Bank, United Nations, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and other organizations.
  • There is a significant positive correlation between the meaningful participation of women within financial institutions and their access to and usage of financial services, with economic growth and competitiveness.
  • Women are “the new emerging market” and are poised to drive the post-recession world economy.
  • Most new income growth in the post-recession world will come from women who represent an estimated $5 trillion in new female earning power in the coming years. Women now control $12 trillion of the overall $18.4 trillion in global consumer spending, and they will have their hands on an even bigger share in the coming years. (Boston Consulting Group). In Africa, the potential contribution of women to growth is still un-tapped.
  • Companies with women at the highest echelons of management deliver better bottom-line results. McKinsey data in 2007 show that companies around the world where a third or more of their executive team are women score higher than those companies with no women on nine criteria of organisational excellence.
  • Further data shows that companies with more women directors on Boards outperform those with the least by 83% in terms of return on equity, 73% in terms of sales and 112% in terms of return on investment (Study on Fortune 500 companies in the USA by Catalyst Inc)
  • If the value of the unpaid, invisible work done by women, approximately US$11 trillion per year – were included, global output would be almost 50 percent greater. (ILO date?)
  • In Africa’s agriculture sector, women receive less than 10% of the credit to small farmers and less than l% of the total credit to agriculture.  Africa is continent where women are responsible for 90% of food production. (Fukuda-Parr 2009)
  • Women command less than 10% of the capital available for investment in new enterprises.  This occurs even where women can demonstrate that they are a better credit risk than men. (Ernst&Young 2009)
  • Female-run entrepreneurial businesses have a higher likelihood of making the transition from start-up to an established business. Inability to secure start-up capital remains a significant barrier for African women business owners.
  • Businesses and financial institutions that are successful in creating product and service offerings designed to meet the specific needs of women will be the ones to reap the rewards.
  • Financial sector stakeholders and companies that create the right environment for women to thrive stand a better chance of being competitive and being leaders within their spheres of activity.
  • Grooming women into senior leadership roles throughout the financial sector will be vital in finding solutions to the current economic crisis, and ensuring that such financial and economic crisis does not reoccur in the future.(Ernst&Young 2009)

“Women constitute knowledge, expertise, talent and powerful energy. It is imperative they take centre stage in influencing the decisions and processes that are re-shaping the global financial system. “Nothing about us without us!”

Mrs. Graça Machel.