Why Women Can Make an Even Greater Impact on Economic Development
Whether you look at the recent report from the Center for Economic Development or the report from California First Lady Maria Shriver, women are taking the lead in today’s economy here in the U.S. and around the world. At NAWBO, our members are standing at the forefront, bringing our country out of the recession. As small business owners, consumers and citizens, we play a major role in the economic development in the U.S. and around the world.
Even with this success, the areas for growth are profound. Whether it’s in a developed or developing country, when women are involved in the economy, important shifts happen. A study on the web site The Girl Effect, run by the Nike Foundation, points to the opportunities that developing nations have when they educate young women. First, when a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. The site additionally states that when girls and women earn an income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families—compared to 30 to 40 percent for a man—more quickly elevating the status of the family and the overall economy.
A study by the Global Fund for Women reinforces these findings. When women are able to support themselves with independent income, they’re less vulnerable to trafficking, commercial sex work, HIV infection and unintended pregnancies, it says. They’re more likely to plan families, less likely to send their children off to work and are able to spend more on children’s education, healthcare and nutrition.
I believe that at NAWBO, we have an opportunity both domestically and abroad to elevate the community of women and women business owners. It’s through these types of initiatives that we realize the important role organizations like ours serve and how much we are still needed. NAWBO members are serving in their communities, nationally and at the global level, and I encourage you to share your stories of how you’re making a difference in the comments below. We’d love to send out your stories to our database later in the month.
—Helen Han, NAWBO President and CEO