You are on page 1of 6

Women: a thinkpiece from Cultural Intelligence

We are witnessing a perfect storm of infrastructural shifts, which point to a
more knowing and conscious era of womanhood.
1. Demographic certainties are being eroded for women globally.
Women are getting married later, having children later and having smaller
family sizes than ever before. They're experiencing something quite new: an
extended period of experimentation and identityformation between
adolescence and adulthood that previously would have not been available to
them. !n both "ermany and the #$, the average age to become a %rst time
mum is now &' years old
, )*.) years in +apan
and )*.* in ,ew -ealand.

.amily size is also decreasing as you can see below:
2. Technology penetration has had a universal impact, representing
/estatis, )''0 and 1,2, )''3
,452, )''*
164/, )'('
.lamingo, (st .loor, ( 7iverside, 8anbre 7oad, 9ondon W3 *W:, ;<<='>)' 0&<? <*@' =tel>, ;<<='>)' 0&<? <*@( =fax>
a new era of connectivity, community, extended networCs and
entrepreneurialism, particularly for women in emerging marCets. In
developing countries, every 10% increase in access to broadband
translates to a 1.!% growth in "#$.
The eDect of technology penetration
is also felt in developed countries with online channels bringing down
some of the entry barriers for small businesses. !n the #2 today, 0% of
&'(s are run by women, compared to only )% %0 years ago.

. Women are assimilating new roles and creating more
connections. They are more visible in public life, more integrated in
society and %nding empowerment through this dispersion of
inAuence. Women's sphere of inAuence is expanding outwards from the
home in public life, across geographies. .rom boardrooms to universities
and more broadly in the labour force, women are starting to gain a
footing, if not an equal one with men. *lmost half + or %, per cent + of
-rst.time appointments to the /0&( )0 were female in 2012, compared
to 1ust 11 per cent in 200,
3 meanwhile ))% of college degrees are now
going to women in emerging markets.
4It5s not only a 6uestion of
fairness. 0he presence of women in the leadership of a country or a
region or a business is a 6uestion of good governance for me5 says the 6#
marCets commissioner, 8ichel Earnier.
%. And this inuence is not !ust "soft power". #emale "hard" economic
power is formidable: 7Women now drive the world economy. "lobally,
they control about 820 trillion in annual consumer spending, and that
-gure could climb as high as 82! trillion in the ne9t -ve years. 0heir 81
#, Eroadband 4ommission WorCing "roup on Eroadband and "ender,
Women's WorC: /riving the 6conomyG 6quity 7esearch: .ortnightly Thoughts, !ssue @&, "oldman 2achs
The !ndependent, +uly )'(&
The Hotential 1f Women !n 6merging 8arCets, .17E62, :pril )'(' http:FFwww.forbes.comF)'('F'<F))Fwomentalent
.ebruary, )'(( http:FFyourlossbooC.comF)'((F')Fdaviesreviewwomenonboardsnoquotas
Women: a global thinCpiece from 4ultural !ntelligence I )0.'*.(&
trillion in total yearly earnings could reach 81! trillion in the same
!n Erazil, )?J or more than a quarter of women outearn their
husbandsKthe highest %gure in the E7!4 countries. 4Women are
estimated to control about 2)% of all spending decisions globally and this
is not limited to what are traditionally considered female categories.
<esearch suggests that in most cases women, unsurprisingly, have veto
power on many of the big.ticket purchases in households. 0his makes the
case for women being involved in the design, manufacturing and
marketing of a huge range of goods and services5.
[This is] the century of women. I speak to you with a feminine voice.
It’s the voice of democracy, of equality
/ilma 7ousseD, ErazilLs Hresident, #.,. "eneral :ssembly in 2eptember )'((
2o, a positive storyM !tLs a familiar trope: women at the heart of technological
empowerment, increasing economic clout and social hyperconnection.
$ut women"s lives are as much characterised by scarcity %of time&
space& the care they feel able to give to their families and friends' as
by the more familiar discourse of abundance. !t's worth focusing on the
pressures and stresses of this new era of womanhood too.
(. The weight of traditional cultural e(pectations
2he may maCe inroads into public life, through entering the worCforce, but
her responsibilities at home havenLt diminished. They haven't moved from
the home to the worCplaceN they have responsibility for both spheres.
Women are shouldering the second and third shifts =household chores and
ooCing after elderly parents> 7<egardless of income or position, for most
Indian women traditional pulls remain unabated. /or working women, family
The .emale 6conomy, by 8ichael +. 2ilverstein and $ate 2ayre, 5E7 http:FFhbr.orgF)''*F'*FthefemaleeconomyFes
Women's WorC: /riving the 6conomyG 6quity 7esearch: .ortnightly Thoughts, !ssue @&, "oldman 2achs
Women: a global thinCpiece from 4ultural !ntelligence I )0.'*.(&
priorities are e9pected to prevail over work. 0his can leave highly ambitious
women feeling 1udged for their commitment to work, pitied or chastised for
having to take calls after hours, urged by family and friends to 4not work so
hard.: 4entre for WorC9ife Holicy global study )'((
). An urban ma!ority
The maOority of the worldLs population now lives in cities. Women are
witnessing new environments of stimulation, competition and opportunity for
their families. (very week, 10 000 people make &hanghai their new home.
5owever with opportunity comes risC and this is manifested in a sense of
eroded community and very real fears about safety. * woman gets raped every
22 min in India but only one in every four accused in the crime gets convicted.

&. #amily structures are changing.
!n the West, there's an increasing trend of geographical dispersion of the
extended family. This means that the traditional structure where maternal or
paternal grandparents were on hand to give emotional and practical support
is now not the norm. Whilst multigenerational living is still common in rural
!ndia, a more nuclearminded family ethos is rising within the educated,
urban middle classes. !t is becoming more common for both the husband
and wife to be engaged in professional careers and behaving more
independently even when still living with husbandLs parents. 1n top of this,
weLre witnessing the breaCdown of social structures. /ivorce rate in /elhi
doubled in past < years. HunOab and 5aryana have seen an increase of
(@'J in last decade.

/esign 2hanghai )'(< http:FFwww.designshowshanghai.comF
.irstpost. !ndia, 1ct )'() http:FFwww.%rstpost.comFindiaFarapeevery))minswhatmaCesussocomplacent
Women: a global thinCpiece from 4ultural !ntelligence I )0.'*.(&
2o we're seeing a tension here between unprecedented opportunity and
the risks of urban living, between ambition and stress, between freedom
and responsibility.
The prevailing discourse around this tension is through the image of the
multitasCing, Ouggling woman who is desperate for some 'me time'. This is
becoming a clichR, and one that emphasises tension rather than resolves it.
: more emergent and positive discourse is around womenLs horizontal ambition
=rather than the traditional, more masculine vertical ambition of social
betterment, acquisition and status>. This horizontal ambition is couched in terms
of maximising lifeLs experiences whilst caring and nurturing the ones you love:
the ambition of the polymath, the social being. This doesn't pit women and men
as Oostling for position but rather as coconspirators in building a better
balanced life.
'0he feminism of the future is shaping up to be about pulling men into women5s
universe = as involved dads, e6ual partners at home and ambassadors for
gender e6uality from the cabinet o>ce to the boardroom,? writes $atrin
1r as /eepiCa HaduCone =Eollywood star> puts it: 7@ew feminism isn5t about
being aggressive, it5s about reaching the top yet being soft. It5s about being
you + feminine, strong and full of will power.:
:nd that will power is driving a desire for shared responsibility. 2heryl
2andberg's '9ean !n' says that Sthe most important career decision that a
,ew TorC Times, +une )'(' http:FFwww.nytimes.comF)'('F'3F)&FworldFeuropeF)&ihtletter.html
Dheera! )inha& Aonsumer IndiaB Inside the Indian 'ind and Wallet, *+,,
Women: a global thinCpiece from 4ultural !ntelligence I )0.'*.(&
woman will make is the choice of her partner.5

This is all about womenLs strength coming from within femininity rather than an
attempt to emulate or oppose menG worCing with rather than subverting social
norms. :s 4aitlin 8oran, author of Cow to De a Woman
says: 4Eeah + I like the
look of this world. *nd I5ve been here for a good while, watching. @ow + here5s
how I5d tweak it. Decause we5re all in this together. We5re all 1ust, you know. 0he
Eusiness !nsider, /ecember )'() http:FFwww.businessinsider.comFsherylsandbergcareeradvicetowomen)'((()
8oran, 4aitlin. Cow to De a Woman. ,ew TorC: 5arper Herennial, )'()
Women: a global thinCpiece from 4ultural !ntelligence I )0.'*.(&