For Impact


Women Rule (2009 Iteration)

On Prospects | | Tom Suddes

It’s official! HBR (Harvard Business Review) for September 2009 has ‘confirmed’ that women really do rule.

The article was titled Understanding the “Female Economy”.

Here’s why I find this both funny and sad.

In 2003, Tom Peters was somehow turned onto to this whole ‘WOMEN’ thing. He wrote about it. Spoke about it. And I picked up on it.

I tried to apply this WOMEN RULE thing to the Third Sector and the For Impact World. In 2003, I wrote Women Rule. In 2005, I added Women & Philanthropy, calling it the $1 Billion Idea. In 2007, I gave you Lions, Mice, Antelopes… and Women.

Here are some ‘gems’ from the FEMALE ECONOMY and HBR, along with some of my thoughts (Circa 2009).

  • Control $20 Trillion in Annual Consumer Spending.
  • $13 Trillion in Yearly Earnings.
  • In aggregate, women represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined. (More than twice as big, in fact.)

FI: So who do we ‘call’ on? MEN!

  • HBR: THE WORLD’S LARGEST OPPORTUNITY. The authors proclaim that “Women represent the largest MARKET OPPORTUNITY in the world.” Income will rise $5 Trillion in the next five years from $13 Trillion to $18 Trillion, etc.
  • “But despite women’s dominant buying power, many companies continue to market mostly to men and fail to explore how they might meet women’s needs.”

    ***Their shorthand metaphor for what not to do is “Make it pink.”

    FI: So who do we ‘call’ on? MEN!

    • 94% of Home Furnishings
    • 92% of Vacations
    • 91% of Homes
    • 60% of Automobiles
    • 51% of Consumer Electronics.”

    FI: And, we’re guessing at least 50% of philanthropic decisions.

    OG (The Old Guy): The HBR article by Michael Silverstein and Kate Sayre, both partners in the Boston Consulting Group, is based on their book Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest Growing Market.

    The thrust of the book and the article was really around CONSUMER SPENDING, purchasing, retail, etc….

    My point to everyone reading this is about WOMEN ‘IN’ PHILANTHROPY! It could also be WOMEN ‘AND’ PHILANTHROPY!

    • WOMEN ARE GREAT PROPSECTS!!! They actually have a heart. They really want to help people in need. They are great prospects solo (as individuals)and they need to be brought in as part of a couple, parents, spouse.

    • WOMEN ARE GREAT PROSPECTS for Legacy Gifts. One of the biggest laughs I get in speaking is when I ask the question: “Who’s going to end up with the $100 TRILLION of WEALTH TRANSFER in the next 30 years?” The laugh comes around my answer: “WOMEN!”

      They outlive men… and, therefore, become great prospects for both cash and Legacy Gifts.

    • WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS. I don’t have all the “numbers” right at hand, but this market segment/sector is also growing by proverbial leaps and bounds.

    CLOSE: You can read all this… and more. Or, you can just GET IT… and go VISIT with WOMEN!


    • Identify 3 women champions (either already committed to your cause/org or great potential) and VISIT WITH THEM !
    • Get 30 minutes.  Ask for nothing but feedback and counsel.  Listen.  Tell some stories.  Touch the ‘heart”.
    • You’ll be amazed at the results.