The State of SA’s SHE-CONOMY
Over the next decade, women financially will rival the significance of the billion-plus populations of India and China. That is according to a report by consulting firm Booz and Co, which found that nearly 1bn women around the world could enter the global
Already, women in the US are the largest economic force in the world, spending a cool $4.9tr a year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. This emerging “Third Billion” is poised to fundamentally reshape the global economy and give local economies a makeover, which is long overdue for many of them. Booz and Co estimates that raising female employment to male levels could have a direct impact on GDP of 5% in the US, 9% in Japan, and 12% in the UAE. In South Africa, it could boost GDP by as much as 17%. Yet our female economy continues to be stifled by a number of historical, political and societal factors – and this 17% of additional GDP will remain purely theoretical unless we see major changes.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Although South Africa earned a thirdplace ranking out of 128 countries in the “advancement” category of the Third Billion Index (an accepted baseline for women’s progress in the workforce), SA women are still far behind when it comes to income equality and their overall participation in the formal sector.
The majority of women remain on the periphery of the economy, with women facing a higher unemployment rate than men. “Female employment has a way to go to catch up with men, with employed females accounting for 44% of the total