May 19, 2013 | 08:01 AM (BD Time)
19 May, 2013 Sunday
Women in economic driving force
Salam Nasreen :
Womenomics is defined as a recession-proof way of working that helps women find balance and satisfaction in both their professional and personal lives. It indicates the supply and demand of women in the workplace, in business, in leadership roles and as consumers. Womenomics is a theory that women play a primary role in economic growth. It focuses on economic power of women with women's growing economic impact on companies and countries' GDP. Women are the secret weapon of business. Companies can gain competitive advantage by better understanding and responding to women's growing influence as consumers, employees and leaders. However, women in our country are still on the lower end of the income ladder, in that case how womenomics can be introduced for them is a challenge.
As the Economist says "Women are becoming more important in the global marketplace not just as workers, but also as consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors. Women have traditionally done most of the household shopping, but now they have more money of their own to spend. Surveys suggest that women make perhaps 80% of consumers' buying decisions- from health care and homes to furniture and food."
Womenomics is related with women's power in the workplace. Today women represent fifty percent of our workforce who can drive our economy as well. Women did not come at this stage overnight. They started working out of necessity since World War II. In course of time they brought challenging revolution in the world. Once upon a time women only worked for the bottom line. Now they are taking nations out of poverty. This is realized by all that women in the workforce can increase national income significantly.
Women holding management position are still lower than men in our country. The main reason is "glass ceiling" which was used by Katherine Lawrence and Marianne Schreiber (Daily Mirror, 2001) means the unseen, yet unreachabel barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of qualifications or achievements. It is not only the barriers in the carrier of women but also the obstacles against the advancement of women. It exists in our society as an invisible barrier.
In order to remove these barriers 'Womenomics' needs to be considered as our national priority. Women's buying power continues to grow at a rapid rate. Female employment needs to be boost up. Day care and nursing care services should expand throughout the country. If gender employment gap is reduced, GDP would be increased in association with more consumption and more investment. As a matter of fact, insufficient supply of affordable daycare, nursing care and housekeeping services lead to higher female unemployment in our country. Therefore many educated women lead typical lives as grandmother in villages and cities.
Typical husbands usually think that women are supposed to do all house hold works as they are dependent on them (men). However they do not think about the opportunity cost of women's jobs. Women are becoming deprived of having income in one hand as well as of remuneration for doing house hold works on the other hand. In fact they are facing double deprivation.
Womenomics is now a great investment theme. Today it would be unwise to ignore the power of the purse. It is found that over the past decade or so, increased female participation in the paid labor force has contributed more to the growth of the World Economy (Daily Mail 2007). Similarly females' increased income may lead to greater consumption of certain goods and services as well as more investments in real estate and financial products.
It is women who bear the greatest burden of trying to be all things to all people. Women spend their time for spouse, children, aged parents, their communities and lastly for themselves.
According to a report, published in International Herald Tribune on 25/02/2011, British Government desires that women should make up at least 25 percent of the boards of the largest British companies within 2015, although France, Spain and Norway has introduced compulsory quotas for women as board members. France passed a law this year that large companies need to take at least 40 percent female directors in the board for the next six years. Spain introduced a similar quota in 2007. In Britain 12.5 percent directors were women in 2010. In the European Union, 9.7 percent of the board members at the top of 300 companies were women in 2008. In USA at least 15 percent at the top of 500 companies are women. In China and India it is only 5 percent.
The reality is that while there are many more women in the workforce than 20 years ago, they are still under-represented in the most powerful position, and the pipeline that works for men (from senior executive to board member) does not yet work for women. Female managers have a major positive role to play in macro-economic terms, increasing corporate performance and delivering change.
We need to choose and use the potential of women at the highest levels as this leads to better decision-making and better returns to shareholders. This is the proclamation of time that women seats need to be ensured in the large companies in our country especially in the garment factories where remarkable workforce is women. We can no way spare the fact that the future of the world lies increasingly in female hands.
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