Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Women In America

One of the most important emerging market segments with unmet needs is one of the most obvious, yet one of the most overlooked, by banks, CUs and financial services companies.  No, it is not the Latino population; nor the Asian population.  It is not Gen X, it is not Gen Y, not even Alphaboomers.  It is not Sun Belt; it is not Gentrification in urban cores.

It is Women.

Yesterday, released Women In America, the first major collected study of women in nearly 50 years, since the days of Eleanor Roosevelt and JFK.  Among the key findings:

  • Younger women are now more educated - more likely to graduate from college than are men, more likely to hold a graduate school degree, more likely to have at least a high school education, and to participate in adult education.  Men, however, still dominate math and science.
  • However, women continue to earn perhaps only 80% what men earn.  This reflects other priorities such as care-giving and child rearing, volunteer work, and part-time work (but it also continues to reflect lesser pay for equal work).  
  • Though, the participation of women in the workforce rose dramatically through the mid-1990s, it has been relatively constant since then. 
  • Women have, and will have, more health issues, though women continue to live longer than men.  These include mobility impairments, and chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, arthritis, and depression.
  • However, women continue to have a lower incidence of heart disease and diabetes then men, and generally use the health care system and preventive care more than men.  Yet, fully one of seven women have no usual source of health care.
  • Women are marrying later, and having fewer kids and having them later. Of the 8 of 10 adult women with kids, an ever-growing number of women are raising children without a spouse.
  • Women will dominate older age cohorts.
  • More women will live in poverty than men.
The ramifications, and the unmet financial needs, are many.  Among products and services to address these, specific financial education - especially regarding investments - is very important.  Helping women establish their own small businesses is very important.  Establishing relationship with women when they are still in college and grad school is very important.  Addressing the needs of single, working moms is very important.  Addressing and preparing for health needs is very important.

Above all, what is very important is understanding how the lives of women are changing over time, in order to build social and economic well-being.

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