An interesting study was recently released about the world’s next emerging market: women. While men’s total worldwide income still doubles women’s ($23.4 trillion vs. $10.5 trillion), the market gap is decreasing with less gender disparity between wages and an influx in the number of women who are finding jobs. Ideally, gender in the workforce (similar to race, religion, etc.) is not a factor or detail… it is not even an afterthought. Ideally, we will reach a point where a gender descriptor in front of an executive’s title is not necessary or important to note.
We are in an awkward transitional period right now; women are succeeding and pulling their weight with men. It should be commended - after all, we’ve come a long way since the women labor unions were formed in 1844 - but there is a fine line between commending achievements and defining those achievements by gender.
Keeping that balance in perspective, a recent Newsweek article states that women’s success will help drive the current post-recession world economy, representing “the biggest emerging market in the history of the planet-more than twice the size of the two hottest developing markets, India and China, combined.” Partly because female spending is focused on the right stuff (health, education and children), women are now the “economic engine of the future.”
Some other statistics from the article that stood out to me:
- Women control $12trillion of the world’s $18.4 trillion in annual consumer spending
- Literacy rates for young women are almost universally within a single digit percentage of men’s
- 70 percent of women in developing countries, like China and Vietnam, work
- Women’s earned income is growing at 8.1 percent versus 5.8 percent for men
From an IT industry perspective, the number of women executives continues to decline. According to the WomenWhoTech Web site, only 26 percent of women held professional positions in the IT industry in 2006 and women only account for 28 percent of the workforce in proprietary software. Currently, women in the technology industry are rarely quoted by mainstream media and blogs, and are not chosen nearly as much as their male counterparts to present on panels at technology conferences. Our society still feels the need to make note of gender when a successful IT executive is not a man. As women, we root for the success and cheer on other Type A women who are succeeding as “minorities” in the market, but ultimately, we strive to reach the ideal point where we can honor a successful industry expert without feeling the need to clarify her gender.
Women In Technology recently surveyed 167 female technologists and discovered that a quarter of respondents found being a woman irrelevant to their success. One woman’s response to the survey: “There will always be stumbling blocks, but it’s more your own determination and motivation that contributes to your success.”
This mindset is invaluable. We will continue to grow if women view their successes - and failures - as a product of themselves, not their gender.
Read the full Newsweek article here. Learn more about the Boston Consulting Group’s research survey and book, “Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market.”
Last week's VMworld happenings continue to this week's summary photos. Metis had three clients attend the conference - Aprius, FalconStor Software and Embotics Corporation. Below are some highlights from the show floor and the FalconStor booth.
|Joanne Ferrara (left) FalconStor Software's director of integrated marketing and yours truly (right).||A crowd emerges as FalconStor Software's hired magician entices attendees to win a $100 bill. ||Our favorite FalconStor spokesman Fadi Albatal, vice president of product marketing, poses for an on-camera interview. |
I just got home from 48 hours of chaos at VMworld in San Francisco. After talking to a few attendees about their trips, I concluded that we all share similar thoughts about the West Coast being a little "different" from the East Coast. For example, when riding up an elevator, it takes twice as long to open the door when you reach the floor you picked. You are left standing there wondering (only if you're from the East Coast) if you are stuck and you should press the alarm button. Then, all of a sudden, the door opens. After you get off the elevator, you walk to your hotel room to put the card key in the door and the green light takes three seconds longer than it does on the East Coast.
These two examples might sound crazy and target me as an impatient person (which I am), so we'll use another example. Apparently, there are signs everywhere on the West Coast telling people to report the use of illegal limos. These are limos that drive around charging visitors an arm and a leg for rides. However, the hotel staff ignores the signs and tries to force patrons into these cars when they are more expensive and, most importantly, ILLEGAL. Then, if you do not take the limo, the hotel staff fights with you about why you NEED to take this car instead of taking a cab. They do not back down. (Usually, this does not happen on the East Coast because if people you do not know sense anger, they back away). From a PR perspective, I'm sure they could find another way to "sell" their services with a lot less attitude and physical aggression. But, if you do push the hotel limo hailer out of the way and grab a cab, you face risking a very stressful situation with schizophrenic drivers. These are drivers who talk to you constantly about nothing, screaming at you and stressing you out after 48 hours of meeting with clients, getting less than five hours of sleep, walking the tradeshow floor and schmoozing.
So, after I returned home and regained my energy, I looked back on the strange happenings during my visit at VMworld in San Francisco. Don't get me wrong; the show, restaurants and meetings were worthwhile, but something I will not forget was the strange San Francisco chaos I experienced. Good luck to all you East Coasters who frequently visit California on business. You can only pray for more patience.
This week Vermont joins states including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and others, allowing same-sex couples to wed legally. In fact, Vermont’s first gay marriage happened at midnight Tuesday, just one minute after the law took effect.
Ben & Jerry’s, a brand that is closely tied to its home state, announced that it supports Vermont and “celebrates the beginning of the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples in Vermont with the symbolic renaming of its well-known ice cream flavor ‘Chubby Hubby’ to ‘Hubby Hubby’.”
Some call the campaign a bold move for the internationally sold and marketed brand. Partnering with Freedom to Marry, the company stands behind its mantra that social justice and freedom is deserved for all people, and rebranding the ice cream for the month of September is one way to participate in the conversation around gay marriage, and to celebrate peace and equality.
Numerous companies and celebrity figures support gay marriage, especially when faced with California’s decision to uphold Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state. Some view endorsements of the movement as purposefully controversial in order to gain press -whether it is positive or not.
Far-right conservatives find companies’ support of gay marriage as unnecessary and immoral business initiatives. Brands with large and widespread consumer followings, from all areas and demographics of the world, risk the loss of potential customers and fans.
For Ben & Jerry’s, it seems that the statement is less of a “PR move” and more of a celebration of something in which its founders believe. Long supporting many missions - social, product and economic — the company aims to be sustainable, responsible and respectful through the actions of its business.
Other companies can take a lesson from Ben & Jerry’s: Regardless of social stigmas attached to beliefs, demographics, etc., companies can always choose authenticity. Freedom of speech gives us the ability to stand behind what we believe, and that is a powerful thing. Standing behind a mission takes courage at times, but companies that consistently display this level of integrity find that this perception emanates from all aspects of their business.
Earlier this month, Colombian superstar, Juanes, announced his upcoming “Paz Sin Fronteras” (Peace without Borders) concert. It is a concert advocating global peace and human rights. Its location is the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, Cuba. When he announced the location, it instantly caused controversy all over Latin America and among the Cuban community in the United States.
Those opposed to the show say that it is a form of propaganda for the Castro regime. Famous Cuban artists have publicly voiced their opposition, saying that a concert about peace in Cuba is an oxymoron and nothing but a publicity stunt for both Juanes and the Cuban government. Juanes, who is an active Twitter user (he posts updates on the concert regularly), has received numerous threats.
However, not everyone is opposed to the concert. There is a line-up of other popular Latin artists scheduled to perform, including Cuban folk singer Silvio Rodriguez and Spaniards’ Enrique Iglesias and Miguel Bose.
Paz Sin Fronteras is Juanes’ second peace concert. Last year, tens of thousands of Colombians and Venezuelans gathered on their border, dressed in white, to hear Juanes’ free show, which also included guest appearances from other mega stars. The purpose of this concert was to heal tensions after Colombia had launched a commando raid into neighboring Ecuador, resulting in numerous deaths. The concert brought people together and was a success.
Juanes, “The Bono of Latin America,” said about the concert:
“It’s time to start knocking down our own mental walls, to not judge anyone for their way of thinking, their social class or their politics… Our Cuban brothers need us and we need them. I’m talking about a peace concert on Sept. 20… raise your voice, and let’s put aside our ideological differences.”
Juanes has even started planning a third peace concert for next summer on the U.S.-Mexican border (between Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas), where countless people have died as a result of ongoing drug wars and conflicts.
Whatever your opinion is on the concert, Juanes’ determination and willingness deserves respect. The concert will take place on September 20.
On August 27 we had another great night of live music at J.J. Foley’s. Mike Paduck from the local South End band, The Risk, played a collection of acoustic covers and originals. The night included a surprise tambourine guest appearance by Gordon Marshall, drummer for The Moody Blues, who was in town for the night and looking for a casual hangout at a local pub. Foley’s was the bar for him - a fitting conclusion to summer 2009, given the talented acts that have graced our favorite bar over the past few months.
Come September and the commencement of fall, Foley’s Music Night will be bi-weekly. Hope to see you at the next one on September 10, when we will welcome back Matthew James from Newport.