7 Impactful Ways Women Are Influencing the Economy

Discover how women are making more of the big money decisions, raising the bar in educational achievement, defining brand perceptions online and more.

Just a century ago, the vast majority of the world’s finances was controlled by men. Men handled the bulk of the wage earning, saving, investing, purchasing, selling and financial management.

But, in the new millennium, the U.S. and the world at large have transformed into a “sheconomy,” where women have actively and dramatically asserted themselves in the market. In fact, here are seven ways that women are impacting the world of finance.

1. Women are surpassing men in education.
In classrooms across America, female students are exceeding their male peers. For several years running, more women than men have graduated with associate’s, bachelor’s and graduate degrees. In fact, Ernst & Young’s Growing Beyond: High Achievers report revealed that nearly 80% of all bachelor’s degrees earned in the U.S. belong to women.

What does this development mean for the economy? Now armed with undergraduate and advanced degrees, women now enjoy higher earnings (although wage equality continues to be an issue), heightened spending power and an increasingly large impact on the market.

2. Women are gaining traction in the workforce.
Currently, women represent a full 50% of the American workforce. And women-owned businesses are increasing at a rate that’s 50% greater than the national average. Plus, women’s earnings continue to rise. In fact, a report from The Boston Consulting Group reveals that one-third of wives bring home more money than their husbands. 

3. Women control the purse strings.
By a massive margin, it’s the ladies who are overseeing the family money. Citigroup’s Women & Affluence report states that two-thirds of women are the primary financial managers in their households. And more than 80% of them feel confident in their knowledge of finances and investments.

Additionally, it’s the women who are making the preponderance of financial transactions. Stephanie Holland, founder of Sheconomy®, reports that 85% of all brand purchases are made by women. And many marketing companies are taking notice of the trend, as they shift advertising strategies to target a predominantly female demographic.

4. Women are handling the purchases in stereotypically “male” industries.
When it comes to their buying power, women are bursting through barriers. Sometimes considered a man’s arena, the auto industry is actually influenced more by the female customers at the dealership. Currently, U.S. women buy more than 60% of all new cars sold and request two-thirds of the service work on those vehicles.

In the electronics space, women are responsible for two-thirds of the PC purchases. And, perhaps most surprisingly, women dominate the sports arena, where they account for 80% of all sports apparel sales.

5. Women save more and invest more lucratively.
You might not think that gender plays a role in determining your portfolio’s performance. But a 2017 analysis of Fidelity’s client data uncovered a 0.4% higher annual return on women’s investments than men’s — a potential sizable difference over time.

That same review also found that women save more money every year, stashing away 9.0% of every paycheck while male customers saved 8.6%. With a higher rate of savings and a better track record with the stock market, women are positioned to outpace men’s net worth in the long run.

6. Young women control brand perceptions online.
In the U.S. alone, roughly 30 million people — 75% of them under the age of 36 — maintain an active blog. And, while blogging is equally popular with both genders, Forbes reports that female bloggers surpass the men in their collaboration with and profit from brand partnerships.

Women are online writing about their favorite products, promoting trusted services and talking about brands on social media. And it makes a difference. A study in Ladies Home Journal found that 84% of women weigh peer recommendations higher than all other forms of brand advertising.

7. Baby-boomer women rule the market.
With decades of earning and saving under their belts, baby-boomer women are in a unique position. With the kids off to college or self-supporting in adulthood, women aged 50+ control $19 trillion of assets, according to the MassMutual Financial Group.

And their power over discretionary spending is only increasing. Ernst & Young’s Growing Beyond: High Achievers report projects that 75% of the world’s discretionary spending will be controlled entirely by women by the year 2028.

It’s not a man’s world anymore when it comes to money management. With an ever-changing landscape to the economy, it’s more important than ever to ensure — regardless of gender — that you own your financial power. And that you prepare your kids to succeed in the future with theirs.