STATE OF AMERICA
The Richer Sex: Women Overtaking Men As America’s Breadwinners – By the next generation, more families will be supported by women than by men. Not since women entered the workforce by the millions after World War II has America witnessed economic change on this scale. Some of this is driven by the dramatic rise in single-parent families, but it is increasingly true in two-earner families as well. Women today make up almost 60% of U.S. college students and earn the majority of doctorates and master’s degrees. Some experts predict that in 25 years law and medicine will be female-dominated professions. Their rise as breadwinners in more households is changing the assumptions about how households work. A Pew Research Center study found that in households where the husband brings in more income, buying decisions are made equally, but in households where the wife earns more, she typically makes twice as many buying decisions as the man. Women’s earnings have given them more economic influence both at home and in public.
BRAVE NEW CONSUMER
Sorry, Young Man, You’re Not the Most Important Demographic in Tech – If you’re a man between the ages of 18 and 35, you used to be the tech industry’s most coveted prize. You were the one who decided what products failed and what products succeeded. But things are changing according to Intel’s cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell. Bell found that women are the heaviest users of today’s widespread technologies: the Internet, mobile phones, Skype, e-readers, GPS and all social networking sites except LinkedIn. The most surprising finding is that the majority of technology users are women in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Further validation of Genevieve’s findings comes from Nielsen’s latest study on the American Media Mom which notes mothers are above average smartphone users, big fans of Facebook and Pinterest. Nielsen shows that they are some of the most engaged consumers online. It turns out women are our new lead adopters.
The Girl Effect – In the past five years, the list of companies that have made girls’ and women’s issues a special priority reads like a Who’s Who of American business: Nike, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Avon, ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, HP, Bank of America, Dell, Google, Walmart, LinkedIn and more have all found a relevant way to wade in. They’ve all joined the fight for one simple reason: investing in girls and women pays off. New thinking and a growing data set suggests investing in girls and women creates measurable economic benefits for all. A woman trained in a particular skill and given a microloan or a way to build up some savings is more likely than a man to use her income to educate and care for her family and invest in the community. Therefore the most effective way to accelerate a nation’s economic productivity and prosperity is to enable women to participate which opens doors to new markets and new investments that equates to as many as 1.4 billion new customers with growing income.
Half The Sky Movement – A Multiplatform Approach To Women’s Oppression – The Half The Sky movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of girls and women worldwide. Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book of the same name, Half The Sky brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools to raise awareness of women’s issues and to provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women. The project includes a four-hour television series for PBS shot in 10 countries following the journalists and A-list celebrity advocates introducing girls and women living in the most difficult situations and fighting bravely to change them. The Facebook game experience turns game play into real-world activism as digital actions translate into real world actions that keep the girls and women safe. Mobile games will be created for developing countries to inform women on issues from healthy birthing practices to highlighting the values of girls in families. The transmedia project includes more than 20 short advocacy and education videos on a variety of issues and a television series to engage local governments, communities and opinion leaders to build their operational and outreach capacities.
ON THE RADAR
Follow Me: @LizStrauss – Liz Strauss is a social web strategist who focuses on connecting with customers in a fun and meaningful way. She’s listed as a ‘must follow’ on Forbes Top 20 Business Women to Follow On Twitter and is ranked amongst Huffington Post’s 10 Breakout Influencers of 2011. For business insights and a fresh source of ideas, be sure to follow @LizStrauss, or check out popular entries in her aptly titled Successful Blog.
Know This: Girls Who Code is an eight-week intensive summer program aimed at turning promising high school girls into tomorrow’s engineering and technology superstars. Founded with backing from Twitter, General Electric, Google and eBay, the program’s mission is to help close the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics gap between boys and girls.
Watch This: This week Nike released a video celebrating female athletes who were pioneers in their sports and who triumphed in the face of sexism. The tribute spot ‘Voices’ marks the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon signing into law Title IX of the Education Amendment – the law best known for prohibiting discrimination against women in sports. Since its passing, participation by women in high school sports has grown 979% and 545% at the college level.