Be sure to catch the Economist, 15 April. Leader, page 14. “Forget China, India and the Internet: Economic Growth Is Driven by Women.” (Headline.) “Even today in the modern, developed world, surveys show that parents still prefer to have a boy rather than a girl. One longstanding reason boys have been seen as a greater blessing has been that they are expected to become better economic providers for their parents’ old age. Yet it is time for parents to think again. Girls may now be a better investment.” “Girls get better grades in school than boys, and in most developed countries more women than men go to university. Women will thus be better equipped for the new jobs of the 21st century, in which brains count a lot more than brawn. … And women are more likely to provide sound advice on investing their parents’ nest egg: surveys show that women consistently achieve higher financial returns than men do. Furthermore, the increase in female employment in the rich world has been the main driving force of growth in the last couple of decades. Those women have contributed more to global GDP growth than have either new technology or the new giants, India and China.”
Continuing on page 73: “A Guide to Womenomics: The Future of the World Economy Lies Increasingly in Female Hands.” (Headline.) More stats: Around the globe since 1980, women have filled “two new jobs for every one taken by a man.” “Women are becoming more important in the global marketplace not just as workers, but also as consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors.” Re consumption, Goldman Sachs in Tokyo has developed an index of 115 companies poised to benefit from women’s increased purchasing power; over the past decade the value of shares in “Goldman’s basket has risen by 96%, against the Tokyo stockmarket’s rise of 13%.” A couple of final assertions: (1) It is now agreed that “the single best investment that can be made in the developing world” is educating girls. (2) Also, surprisingly, nations with the highest female laborforce participation rates, such as Sweden and the U.S., have the highest fertility rates; and those with the lowest participation rates, such as Italy and Germany, have the lowest fertility rates.
Quite a story, eh?