The Power of the Purse: Gender Equality and Middle-Class Spending

- Gender equality is improving "In the BRICs and N-11 countries, gender gaps in education, employment, health and political representation are narrowing. At the same time, laws and social norms that have discriminated against women are shifting in some countries. Together, these factors are giving women greater influence and decision-making power within households and markets."
- Women’s spending priorities are different "Women’s spending priorities differ from men’s, with women notably more likely to buy goods and services that improve the family’s welfare. Thus, as women gain decision-making power, household spending patterns are likely to shift. Household savings rates are also likely to rise. Sectors likely to benefit from women’s expanding buying power include food, healthcare, education, childcare, apparel, consumer durables and financial services. Our equity research analysts identify a list of companies with exposure to these global opportunities."
- Identifying the “sweet spot”: gender equality meets the global middle class "Improving gender equality coincides with the rapid growth of the “global middle class” (those with annual incomes between $6,000 and $30,000 in PPP terms). From about 1.7 billion people today, this middle class is expected to reach approximately 3.6 billion by 2030, of whom about 85% will live in the BRICs and N-11 countries. Over the next five years, the combined impact of growing gender equality and the emerging middle class will be seen most clearly in China and Russia, and to a lesser extent in Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia. In
the subsequent decade (2015-2025), these dynamics are likely to remain strong in Mexico and Russia, and to continue to strengthen in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Philippines. India’s middle class will see rapid growth off a very low base, but the shifts in spending that we outline are likely to remain constrained by women’s relatively low status, at least for the next 10-15 years."
- Income and equality: a virtuous circle "Spending driven by women should support the development of human capital, which will fuel economic growth in the years ahead. At the same time, economic growth should continue to bolster gender equality."

GoldmanSachs Global Markets Institute 20100805

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