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The Power of Women

One of the most positive aspects of starting my new business has been to explore the amazing power of women. In my research, networking and my work with clients, I have discovered that women are supportive, smart, funny, confident, powerful, honest, successful and great to work with.In addition to being so important to me as clients and friends, women are an amazingly powerful market segment.

If your business does not do something special to endear yourself to these women, what are you waiting for? If you do not hire a great deal of women?start now. Take a look at the list of statistics and you'll truly understand the power of women.

  • Women are more likely to vote in all but seven states: Hawaii, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota
  • Women are responsible for 83% of all consumer purchases and account for 88% of retail customers in the US
  • Women are involved in 89% of all consumer electronics purchase decisions (an industry that considers its target customer male)
  • Radio Shack's customers have changed from 20% female seven years ago to 40% female in 2004 (CNN.


  • Women make 80% of all healthcare decisions and control over 67% of all healthcare spending
  • Single women made up 21% of home buying transactions in early 2003, accounting for the second largest segment of home buyers (Realty Times, 2003)
  • Women spend 80% of all sports apparel dollars and control 60% of all money spent on men's clothing
  • Mothers spend an average of 16 hours and 52 minutes online per week, around four hours and 35 minutes more than American teenagers (Nua Internet Surveys, 2002)
In a study of 353 Fortune 500 corporations, Catalyst research found the following:
  • The group of companies with the highest representation of women on their top management teams experienced better financial performance than the group of companies with the lowers women's representation. This finding holds for both financial measures analyzed, Return on Equity (ROE), which is 35.1 % higher and Total Return to Shareholders (TRS), which is 34% higher.
  • In the same study, financial performance was also analyzed by industry, and in each of the five industries analyzed, the group of companies with the highest women's representation on their top management teams experienced a higher ROE than the group of companies with the lowest women's representation
  • In the same study, in four out of the five industries analyzed, the group of companies with the highest women's representation on their top management teams experienced a higher TRS than the group of companies with the lowest women's representation
  • For the first time in 20 years, women outnumbered men in higher paying, white collar managerial and professional occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(The Washington Post, 2003)
  • There are an estimated 10.6 million privately held 50% or more women-owned firms in the US, accounting for 47.

    7% of all privately held firms in the country, as of 2004

  • Privately held, 50% or more women-owned firms generate $2.46 trillion in sales and employ 19.1 million people
  • Privately held, 50% or more women-owned firms grew by 28.1% from 1997 to 2004, three times the growth rate of all U.S. privately held employer firms (9.


  • Women owned small businesses grew by 30% from 1997 to 2004, compared to 10% growth for all firms over the same time period
  • Women made about 81% of what men earned as of the third quarter of 2004(Economic Policy Institute, 2004)
.I personally make my purchasing and business decisions based on supporting those in my networking groups, supporting friends in business and shopping at stores that promote women in business. For example, in the highly competitive field of office supplies, take a look at the Office Depot website and see how much they do to support women in business. I have met several key senior management women from Office Depot at conferences and the company authentically gives time and money to support women's causes and hires women in key positions.

There are two Staples stores and an Office Max that I PASS on my way to shop at Office Depot. Or, alternatively I shop online at their website and have everything delivered to my office.As a group, we can really make a difference and exert our power if we are aware and put our money where it is truly valued.

Conversely, in your business, make some changes that will affect women in a positive way. Hire women in key positions. Think of the women you know when you craft marketing strategies?what will cause them to spend their hard earned money with you?.Unless otherwise noted, all statistics come from the Business Women's Network/Diversity Best Practices 2005 WOW! Quick Facts Women.

.For 18 years Karyn Pless built her career in marketing, working her way up the corporate ladder to Vice President of Marketing of Zany Brainy while also juggling two children and a husband.

After turning to a personal coach herself to reduce the chaos in her life, Karyn decided to become trained and certified as a professional coach and started a company called Shine Personal Coaching in 2004 to help business leaders who are also mothers balance those competing roles.In January of 2006, Shine Personal Coaching officially transitioned to Beyond Balance, Work Life Integration Strategies for Professionals in response to client requests for expanded offerings including corporate training, seminars and keynotes in addition to the executive coaching she was already providing.For more information, please visit http://www.

By: Karyn Pless


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