Will Women Save the World?

“Women small business owners will ultimately create more opportunities for employees to grow in their jobs and inspire others to start their own small business – all while providing customers with superior service.” The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute, Dec. 2009

At the Vancouver Peace Summit in September 2009, the Dalai Lama gathered with a powerful group of Nobel Laureates, Authors, Musicians, and other change agents to discuss the idea of world peace. As you have likely heard by now, during that event, the Dalai Lama stated that we are seeing the rise of the feminine energy globally as we move toward a more compassionate, empathetic and nurturing global society. As a result, he stated unequivocally that the world will be saved by the Western Woman.

But the Dalai Lama isn’t the only one who sees Western Women as a positive and powerful force of change on our planet.

The Center for Women’s Business Research did a study that showed that there are about 8 million women-owned enterprises in the US alone, and that those enterprises generate approximately $3 trillion and create or maintain more than 23 million jobs — 16% of all US employment. According to the study, Women entrepreneurs have economic clout.Why? Because the more women entrepreneurs participate in the labor force, the higher our Gross Domestic Product! Wow.

But that isn’t all: The World Bank has reported that on a global level, women own or operate 25% to 33% of all private businesses. And, I love this one….statistics show that women-owned enterprises grow faster than those owned by men and faster than businesses overall. You go girls!

Moreover, Forbes published an article this year taking this even further. According to Forbes.com, women are fast becoming THE job-creation engine for our country. According to Forbes, women start businesses and are responsible for an increase in new jobs at rates well beyond men and in a way that disproportionately exceeds their current contribution to U.S. employment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that by 2018, 15.3 million new jobs will be created. Do you want to know the best part? According to a new report by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute, women will create one-third, or 5.5 million, new jobs!

Yes, it gets even better than that. Not only will women create these jobs, but the report predicts that women will also be responsible for transforming the workplace from the male-dominated, hierarchical, exclusive “good ole boys” club of yesterday into a more “inclusive, horizontally-managed environment.”

According to Forbes, “this job growth projection is based on a rigorous analysis of converging factors, including the faster growth rate of female-owned vs. male-owned businesses; higher college graduation rates by women than men; and the predicted growth of industry sectors and occupations traditionally dominated by women. The projection also reflects the timely fact that female-owned businesses, more often self-funded than male-owned ones, are therefore less reliant on bank financing at a time when many say small business lending practices are more restricted.”

Using the Guardian Life report, Forbes predicts that women business owners will create a very different work environment than the male-dominated work place we have all experienced. This will include characteristics such as a positive working environment and opportunities for all involved in the business, better pay and health care, better customer service and customer loyalty, a smarter focus on ideal clients (niche marketing), better collaboration and communication, and better long-term planning, including a succession plan and a solid retirement plan not only for owners but for their employees.

As Forbes says so eloquently, “[T]his deeply engaged, inclusive, horizontal and diligent female-led approach to business management can be expected to counteract the top-down, command-and-control style long practiced by the male-dominant business establishment. Over the next decade, it will have a profound impact on the U.S. economy as female small-business owners create more opportunity for employees to grow in their jobs, encourage others to start their own small businesses and inspire a greater commitment to superior customer service and retention.”

I am witnessing a growing movement toward conscious capitalism and a caring economy. Women are the key catalysts of this movement,  and I believe women will lead that charge. I have no doubt that the Dalai Lama was right: Women will save the world, one person -- and one conscious enterprise -- at a time.