It’s A Man’s World? Not Anymore

Gender-Icons-1717334We have been writing a lot about the different aspects of the gender gap, with statistics and personal experiences suggesting our culture is still dominated by men. Though facts like the one that a working woman’s average pay is lower than a man’s are indisputable, women dominate a very important area: spending. You think that’s not news? Think again, because we’re not talking about just buying “girl stuff”, we’re talking about everything from cars to electronic gadgets. And, contrary to traditional belief, we are not spending men’s money, we’re more and more spending our own.

Let’s look at some hard figures. In 2012, it was estimated that women are responsible for around $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the US. They are in control of 51% of the private wealth in the country and 60% of all personal wealth. We also buy half of all products traditionally considered to be men’s domain, including cars, home improvement stuff and, not least, electronics. All in all, we make or influence 85% of all decisions about buying. Need more? Here it is: by 2028 estimates suggest that women will make more money on average than men. The current pay gap is narrowing by 1% every year, according to estimates from Boston Consulting Group. So, it looks like we’re fast moving to a women-dominated world, both when it comes to who makes the money decisions and when it comes to who brings home a bigger paycheck. Could it spark a counter-movement for men’s empowerment? Who knows, but these are all just estimates and it’s enough to hope that actual pay equality is clearly visible on the horizon.

What’s more important is that these figures reflect a change of attitudes. The idea that women and tech, for example, don’t go together is quickly dying, paralleling the emergence of a new mindframe, the Millennial mindframe, in which gender differences are not as important, if at all, as they were for previous generations. Women are shaking off the idea of the superwoman who can do everything, and do it perfectly, and are settling for doing the best they can in the circumstances and not focusing too much on little problems. In other words, we are becoming more pragmatic, realizing that a perfect balance between work and family is impossible. Instead, we are increasingly becoming comfortable with the idea that everything — career, family, personal betterment — comes at a cost and trusting our own judgement about what cost we are prepared to pay in order to gain something, rather than succumbing to social expectations (which are also changing, naturally).

In light of these dynamic changes, the stats listed above look less surprising, don’t they? We’re becoming more pragmatic and we’re also becoming more confident in our skills and knowledge, which helps us take more responsibility about what we and our families spend money on. And, it seems, our families and our partners are increasingly trusting us with these spending decisions, which basically means we’re doing the right thing. Plus, it sure feels nice to be a major force supporting the economy, doesn’t it?