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Opening remarks and keynote speaker: Impact of women's growing economic power

Posted By Anna Curtis, Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2011
This morning’s opening remarks from Chair Michelle Gloeckler included the surprise welcoming of two women to the stage--both PepsiCO executives that had never spoken at a NEW event before--to introduce the timeline video to fellow attendees.

Each woman bravely took a moment to talk about NEW, Elin Tempel by telling us what’s going on with the organization and how it’s grown, and Jackie Freymark with a short speech on diversity: "Ten years ago, diversity was considered a compliance issue. But now it's universally recognized as a top priority to innovation."

The timeline video brought us through all the years of NEW's growth. Four years ago, there were 2,000 members, and that number doubled by 2010. Word has it, NEW is fixing on having approximately 5,000 members by the end of this year!

On-camera video commentary by leaders like Helayne Angelus brings home the force and uniqueness of the organization: "We want to create and empower a diverse industry," she says. "We’re talking about transforming the industry from a male-centric world… to an industry of aspirations."

Before Gloeckler welcomed the keynote speaker to stage, she encouraged attendees’ increase in volume with NEW--to pursue leadership levels of action within the organization. "There’s so much pleasure in giving back to this organization and making this happen,” she says.

OPENING KEYNOTE: How Women’s Economic Power

Will Transform Our World For The Better
Maddy Dychtwald, author and co-founder, Age WaveMaddy

Dychtwald’s opening question to attendees prompts amused chuckles before the audience launches into table conversations: "How do you think your economic power differs from that of your grandmother?” As we all know, the difference is incredibly vast.

Years of research leads Dychtwald to believe that women are the biggest change agent of the 21st century, all over the world. "After thousands of years of economic dependence, we begin to see a critical mass of women gaining education and earning-power,” she says. "It’s new, it’s radical and it’s bringing on an era of women, money and power.”

Dychtwald thinks one of the things we should realize is that women of the past didn't have the opportunity to own property because "we were considered property.”

The world is certainly changing. Women today are graduating from college at a much higher rate than men, and have a 59% graduation rate at grad school. Nearly half of the U.S. workforce are women--that includes middle management and senior positions.

Full of statistics and interesting information, Dychtwald shows a chart of women’s income growth from 1970-2010. How does an upswing of 91% sound? Or the fact that about 26% of women in the U.S. now earn more than their husbands?

"We’ve reached a tipping point,” she says. "And as women gain more economic clout, men tend to be more involved in domestic responsibilities.”

We’re not just talking about a change in the U.S.  Countries that educate girls and women have recorded GDP increases. "We’re beginning to see women as strong role models, all over the globe.”

We’re also living considerably longer these days (women 3-5 years beyond men).  But are we prepared for the longevity? "Women’s retirement accounts, on average, are two-thirds the size of men’,” Dychtwald says.

That leads us to her set of rules she thinks every woman should live by...

Rule #1: Women should take control of their own finances as well as their lives.  "Have a family and have work.”

Rule #2: Re-write the traditional rules for females.  Create jobs by starting businesses for yourselves.

Rule #3: Rather than climbing the career ladder, create your own career path, whether you’re on your own in business or working for a big corporation. 

An inspirational and entertaining keynote by another one of NEW’s smart and forward-thinking leaders.

Maddy Dychtwald is the author of "Influence: How Women's Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World For The Better."

Tags:  maddy dychtwald 

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