5 reasons to bank on women in Emerging Markets

A disproportionate share of weath creation will take place in emerging markets. A huge number of households will move from poverty into the middle class and beyond. Not only the general economy but also the ‘female economy’ is growing faster in emerging markets relative to developed markets. Women in emerging markets will increasingly become a global economic force to recon with, as employees, consumers and business owners. These are five reasons that explain why:

  1. Female consumers form a growth market larger than those of India and China combined. The number of educated women in developing countries and emerging markets is rising rapidly. In many of the BRIC countries for instance girl and boy enrollments of primary and secondary schools are almost equal. This development speeds up the increase in female labor participation and earnings.
  2. Consumer spending among women is boosted even more in emerging markets because of lifecycle changes: fertility rates are dropping, women’s overall health and life expectancy is significantly improving and they increasingly decide to have children later in live (Deloite, 2012).
  3. Women are one of the fastest rising populations of entrepreneurs worldwide. Eight to ten million formal SMEs in emerging markets are fully or partially owned by women, representing 31-38 percent of all SME’s (IFC, 2011). In Sub-Sahara the number of female entrepreneurs equals and even outpaces that of male counterparts (GEM women 2011).
  4. Female entrepreneurs within developing and emerging economies are more likely to see opportunities, have a lower fear of failure, and think more positively about entrepreneurship as a career choice as compared to women from developed economies. In developing economies, 19.9% of the women surveyed by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor said they were starting or running a new businesses; 9.7% said so in the emerging economies economies, compared to only 3.9% in developed economies (GEM women 2011).
  5. Women’s access to finance has increased, allthough it is still a barrier. The number of women reached by microfinance has grown exponentially from 10.3 million in 1999 to nearly 69 million in 2005, an increase of 520 percent. There is a growing recognition among mainstream commercial banks that the growth and start-up needs of business women go beyond micro-loans. Despite attention from the financial sector, the demand of women owned businesses in emerging markets is still far from being met (IFC, 2011).
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