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

Finweek English Edition - - FRONT PAGE - BY JES­SICA HUB­BARD

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

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