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Womenomics 101


07 March 2011

Julia Camm writes exclusively for the Ruby Connection on womenomics. Over the coming months will explore the concept of womenomics and how it applies to the rest of us (without the boring academic bits).

Claire Shipman and Katty Kay's 2009 book Womenomics: Write your own rules for success argues that educated, experienced career women are in demand ... not just because they're smart and got some runs on the board, but simply because we're women. They claim that today's woman has more clout than ever to demand what they want. Their revolution is all about getting women marching into their boss' office and demand what they say all women really want, which is to work less. ?

*Kapow!* Punchy stuff ... the very thing what revolutions are made of.

Womenomics, to these ladies, is defined as a recession-proof way of working that helps women find balance and satisfaction in both their professional and personal lives.

Hang on a tic ... Balance between professional and personal lives? Obtain satisfaction? Make demands for what I want? I don't connect with this line of thinking.

I've got satisfactory integration of my portfolio of activity into my life. I'm a self-employed troublemaker, going about building my little business empire, studying and enjoying a thrilling social life with friends and family. Thank you very much. I doubt I'll be subscribing to their revolution. I agree with Forbes' deputy editor Elisabeth Eaves that Shipman and Kay's kind of femmenomic action will only be favoured by young, competent non-mothers who don't see their career as a vocation. Nothing wrong with that, but if this is their concept of womenomics, then it's a bit one dimensional.

I take womenomics to mean the supply and demand of women in the workplace, in business, in leadership roles and as consumers. Consider this quote from The Economist:

\"Women are becoming more important in the global marketplace not just as workers, but also as consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors. Women have traditionally done most of the household shopping, but now they have more money of their own to spend. Surveys suggest that women make perhaps 80% of consumers' buying decisions - from health care and homes to furniture and food.\"

SOURCE: The Economist (2006) 'A Guide to Womenomics' Vol 378, Issue 8473

Ahh ... That's better. That sounds more like me!


I think the key to understanding the power and application of this definition of womenomics is to acknowledge that women participate in the marketplace either out of necessity (because there is no better alternative) or opportunity, despite having other alternatives.

The more we participate in the workplace, the greater the opportunity to learn and increase competency and professional value.

The more we participate in business, the greater the opportunity to develop capability. Capability is where we have everything we need to survive and thrive in any socio-eco-political environment. Being capable means we lead vibrant viable businesses that contribute to the community.

The more we embrace leadership, the greater the opportunity to develop competency and capability in other women through sharing, collaboration and mentoring.

The more we do these things, the greater the opportunity to create personal wealth for ourselves (whatever that means for you).

Some argue that women are the most powerful engine of global growth and that future of the world economy lies increasingly in female hands.

This is the type of womenomics I like having in my hands ... opportunity!

Links to further information:

Short video with Womenomics authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay Elisabeth Eaves (2009) 'Womenomics', a Labour Movement for the Elite

The Economist (2006) 'A Guide to Womenomics' Vol 378, Issue 8473.