By Amy-Willard Cross
Women count and should be counted—as one big mass of estrogen-scented cash. Long seen as the “have-not” gender, women in aggregate now actually control an enormous amount of the economy.*
Let’s call it The Female Domestic Product, or FDP. It represents:
- Consumer spending controlled by women on an annual basis
- Revenues received by the eight million women-owned companies annually
- Investable assets held by women.
It’s calculated in a completely unorthodox way that no accountant or economist ever would do—mixing assets with annual revenues and consumer spending. But my purpose is different.
The goal of this FDP graphic is:
1. To show how powerful women are economically.
2. To encourage people to grow the FDP.
This economic power is like Dorothy’s ruby slippers; we’ve had it all along, but didn’t know how to use it. There have been inklings of it, as when groups of people formed a coalition to urge Johnson & Johnson to change their formulation. Or when Women, Action, & the Media, led by Soraya Chemaly, pressured Facebook advertisers to get Facebook to delete pro-rape and violence pages. It’s beginning to seem as though the market responds to women’s’ demands more than legislators or judges. No wonder, it’s a less direct spend.
To grow the FDP, it’s as easy as keeping as much of our money as possible inside it. That means buying from women-owned companies or investing in women’s businesses, either through Kickstarter, angel investing groups, or buying stock in the few publicly held majority women-owned corporations.
Dollars make change. The point of growing the #FDP is so women can create prosperity, and with that, we can donate to women’s nonprofits and to candidates who promote a woman-friendly agenda of paycheck fairness, sick leave, and even paid maternity leaves. In fact, many women-owned companies have a built-in social impact—sharing proceeds with favored non-profits.
Prosperity to Parity
Instead of just clicking our heels to get away from wicked witches, parabens, or violent content, imagine if we used the slippers to go to good places—like big companies that support women or ethically-run women-owned businesses, both of which treat employees and customers well and donate profits back to the community that supports them.
Women have long held the power of the purse (which we know about thanks to the groundbreaking efforts of Marti Barletta, who has been trying to make businesses realize the power of the women’s market for decades). These days everybody talks about the 85%, 80%, or 73% of the consumer dollar. But we have rarely used it to our advantage.
Remember, every time you spend a dollar, you can create change—beyond coins.
Want to use your dollars powerfully? Grow the FDP? Sign up for the BUY UP Index, which rates companies on gender equality and provides curated product discovery for women-owned businesses.
Let us know when you buy from women-owned businesses, with the hashtag #BuyUp—and include a picture and URL.