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September 28, 2008

The explosion of women in business (1960 - 2007)

Many of us are thinking this is probably the worst time for us to go into a recession. China, India and Brazil are lapping at our heels, the dollar is weak and unstable, the Middle East is surging on the back of high oil prices and  we seem to be surrounded by more enemies than ever before.

Take heart. The USA has one incredible economic advantage that no other country in the world has come near. Aside from the entrepreneurial culture, the drive for innovation and the underlying optimism of the economy - the USA also has women!

The motion graph below shows the incredible rise in female participation and employment in the USA as compared with other western economies. (UK, Australia, France, Germany and Japan)

The truly striking issue here is the underlying growth in the workforce numbers in the USA over the past 50 years. Starting at 69 million (approx) in 1960 and zooming to 153 million by 2007.

This is on top of a participation rate that went from 38% to 60% and with the overall percentage of women in the workforce jumping from 33% to 46% during the same period.

According to these statistics 75% of women who are participating in the workforce - a total of just under 68 million women in the workforce!

That is a phenomenal competitive advantage and one that others in the market are nowhere near approaching. Low cost labor only has so much potential for pushing an economy, as does reliance on commodities.

The fact that the USA is actively utilizing almost 100% of its available labor capacity, and tying this in with the previously mentioned areas of innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and the fair and equitable rule of law - places this economy far out ahead of any others. Regardless of short term interruptions like this one.

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