Thursday, April 13, 2006

Economic Growth is Driven by Women

There's an interesting article in yesterday's edition of the Economist.

Even today in the modern, developed world, surveys show that parents still prefer to have a boy rather than a girl. One longstanding reason why boys have been seen as a greater blessing has been that they are expected to become better economic providers for their parents' old age. Yet it is time for parents to think again. Girls may now be a better investment.

Girls get better grades at school than boys, and in most developed countries more women than men go to university. Women will thus be better equipped for the new jobs of the 21st century, in which brains count a lot more than brawn. In Britain far more women than men are now training to become doctors. And women are more likely to provide sound advice on investing their parents' nest egg: surveys show that women consistently achieve higher financial returns than men do.

Furthermore, the increase in female employment in the rich world has been the main driving force of growth in the past couple of decades. Those women have contributed more to global GDP growth than have either new technology or the new giants, China and India (see article). Add the value of housework and child-rearing, and women probably account for just over half of world output. It is true that women still get paid less and few make it to the top of companies, but, as prejudice fades over coming years, women will have great scope to boost their productivity—and incomes.

Hmm....let the battle of the sexes begin.

On a related note, there was an article in the January 30, 2006 issue of Newsweek entitled The Trouble With Boys. Apparently, boys are falling further and further behind in school. And educators are beginnning to take more creative/drastic measures to remedy the situation.


mapgirl said...

I think girls are more likely to directly care for aged parents than boys are, i.e. wipe poop and take you to the hospital. Yet another reason to prefer a girl over a boy.

But if only you could skip the teen years for both of them.

IRA said...

I agree. My aunt (as a young widow) provided in home care for her deceased husband's parents (my grandparents) for decades. That's what you call sacrifice.

contrary1 said...

very interesting post. Coming from a family with just 2 dtrs and now the grandchildren being only 5 grand sons..........I can see a huge difference between how the family relates to money/finances.

I think females know their income is going to be less, so they plan around that, or for that.....
Males know they have income producing ability, so aren't so inclined to be as careful with their finances.

Will be the thought for the day to ponder here..........

IRA said...

Hello Contrary1. Thanks for stopping by. Actually, just the opposite happened to my family. When we were kids, my brother was the ambitious one. He wanted to be the CEO of his own company by the age of 30. But then he got 'sidetracked' and decided to become a pastor and start a family. I, on the other hand, thought that I wanted nothing more than to settle down and become a stay at home mom. But when I graduated from college, I was kind of bored and restless. So, I wound up going to law school. And now I'm the one with tons of earning potential. But as I mentioned in another post, I'm in the process of transitioning out of law. So who knows where my brother and I will be 10 years from now?