It's a She-conomy
Over the next decade, women around the world will enter the workforce at an unprecedented rate. Close to 1 billion women, many of whom have either never worked or worked at a subsistence level, will be contributors in the world economy. Because of urban migration, increased access to education, mobile technologies, micro-credit and low market entry costs, women will create work and start businesses more readily than ever.
In the industrialized world, women will continue making educational, economic and political advances. The gender gap in earnings will narrow over the decade, approaching parity by 2020. In academia, women will enter and graduate from colleges at a higher rate than men, better preparing them to lead in a knowledge economy. They will be a dominant force in the health, education and service sectors, which are all expected to grow significantly in the next 10 years.
Over the next decade:
- Globally, about 870 million women who have not previously participated in the mainstream economy will gain employment or start their own business by 2020. Most of these women – 822 million – will come from nonindustrialized countries, while roughly 47 million will come from North America, Western Europe and Japan.
- Gen Y women – across races and ethnic lines – will dominate both college graduation rates and professional workforce entry, expanding their role in management and in professions such as law, business and medicine.
- In countries with limited support services, such as viable childcare, many women will start their own businesses to provide flexibility for their families and avoid traditional constraints that once kept them out of the workplace. Others may choose a hybrid solution where one spouse works for the benefits and job security while the other starts a business.
- Women will overcome the legal or traditional barriers that prevented them from participating in some regions by using virtual, mobile and Internet technologies to run businesses without having to be physically present.
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