It’s “International Women’s Day” today. As expected, there are a lot of messages being shouted out about how far women have come and, of course, how much more needs to be done to achieve “gender parity” in the workplace and in society. As such, adding more verbage to all that well-established collective wisdom does not really contribute much additional insight to the subject of women’s issues as, quite evidently, we have enough Netizens already exchanging enough of the familiar ideas on the matter amongst themselves within their little cliques of pals.
There is no disputing the importance of women’s rights — because women are people too, just people who happen to be equipped differently owing to their having a different biological purpose in the all-important effort to further our specie’s genetic code. Women’s rights are also important because we now possess the social, cultural, and technological infrastucture to support women’s aspirations to take on bigger roles in deciding and driving how things are done in this world. We see this in how businesses are implementing initiatives to boost women’s presence in senior management and even executive positions to at least 50-50 ratios. Many men have come to happily welcome these corporate initiatives.
Most important of all, businesses love women. Before women joined the workforce in droves, their contribution to the economy was largely non-tangible. Though economists tried to put a dollar value to the unremunerated housework and child-rearing that they did at home, there was no real significant cash exchanging hands as a result of the housework performed by women and so their contribution to national economies was largely “theoretical”. Initiatives to get women out of the house, into the workforce, and salaried therefore made sense to capitalists who are always on the look out for new untapped markets for the products being churned out by their factories. Women in the workforce meant a new set of consumers with cash to spend. And that was a good thing for business.
Women were also long seen by marketers to be the primary purchasing decision makers of most households. Being so, marketing and advertising campaigns since time immemorial were subtly aimed at women even in the early days when men brought home most of the bacon. That was likely fine by the average ad man who just thought with regard to households’ disposal income, “Men makes ’em, women spends ’em.” Just the same, women taking a bigger share of the income making activities of households are even better for business.
And so these are likely some of the real reasons why the business world got behind and remains strongly behind “gender equality”. Women doing more roles traditionally performed by men means bigger markets and more cash sloshing around those markets to harvest. The enlarged labour supply resulting from larger numbers of women joining the workforce also puts downward pressure on labour costs — the same way immigration does as most business owners and executives will have happily learned by now.
Gender equality is, in principle, win-win. Women gain personal careers, greater personal freedoms, and feel more fulfilled. Businesses get more and more of the other half of humanity cashed up and directly participating in the consumer market. Business is happy, women are happy, and, when women are happy, the men are happy. Thus, everybody is happy.
Happy International Women’s Day! 🙂
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