Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Workforce of Women

Since my previous post on the advantages of being a woman in today’s economy, there’s been quite a lot of media buzz surrounding the idea that women are poised to takeover the business world.

Indeed, women now make up the majority of the workforce. They’ve also weathered the recession far more successfully than men. Roughly three quarters of those who lost their job during the recession carried a Y chromosome.

In her recent cover story in The Atlantic entitled “The End of Men,” Hanna Rosin asks “what if modern postindustrial society is simply better suited to women?”

As Rosin points out, “The attributes that are most valuable today – social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus – are, at a minimum, not predominantly male.”

This is, by and large, a consequence of the shift to a Participation Economy. Business success in today’s world depends on empathy and personal engagement with clients, consumers and employees. Technological innovation, particularly social networking, has given businesses incredibly powerful tools for doing this. But when it comes to forging meaningful relationships through empathy and social tactfulness, Rosin is correct that we were not all created equal.

This also explains the recent explosion in female entrepreneurs. As a recent Newsweek story observed:

"Between 1997 and 2002, female-led firms grew by nearly 20 percent, while overall firms grew by just 7 percent; by 2005, women represented more than a third of people involved in entrepreneurial activity, and the number of women-owned firms continues to grow at twice the rate of all U.S. firms."

Men will have to work harder to keep up with the throngs of talented women that now populate the workforce. The days of the “boys club” business are long gone, and we will be better off as a result.