More than Half of Women Are Now Primary Breadwinners

January 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

New news. It used to be that 40% of women in married households were the primary breadwinner. Now, more than half of American women are the primary breadwinners in their households and many of them are worried about financial matters. Results from the Center for American Progress show that 63% of mothers were primary, sole or co-breadwinners for their families. Sounds like good news?  Well, not so quick.

Sounds like good news? Well not so quick. The fact that women are bringing home a significant portion of their families’ incomes does not mean that there is gender parity in the workforce, nor does it mean that working parents and caregivers have the supports they need. Issues such as the gender wage gap and lack of policies such as universal paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and workplace flexibility still hold women back from reaching their full economic potential.

Families in the United States look different than they did a generation or two ago. Married couples today are less likely to have children than they were in the past, and single-parent households are also much more common. In 1974, a married couple headed 84% of all families with children, while in 2015, only about two-thirds, or 65.5%, of families with children were headed by a married couple. And from 1974 to 2015, the rate of families with children headed by a single mother nearly doubled—from 14.6% to 26.4%—while the rate of single fatherhood quadrupled from 1.4% to 8.1%.

Working Moms Raise Successful Daughters and Caring Sons

July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

29F5D60900000578-3138860-image-a-35_1435227167886A new Harvard Business School study should eliminate “working mom guilt”.  Moms who work outside the home may be doing something really positive for their children.  And that’s a good thing since nearly three-quarters of American mothers with children at home are employed.

The study reports daughters of working mothers are more likely to be employed, hold supervisory positions, and earn more money than daughters of non-employed moms.  In the United States, daughters of working moms earned 23% more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers.

The working paper (pdf) published June 19 by the Harvard Business School also found that working moms also had a statistically significant effect on their sons.  The sons are more likely to spend time caring for family members and doing household chores than are sons of stay-at-home moms.  In fact, the sons here in the U.S. spent seven and a half more hours a week on child care and 25 minutes more on homework.   The study did not show an influence on the careers of sons because there has always been an expectation for men to work outside the home.

We working moms seem to impart different attitudes towards gender roles to our children which have an impact on their attitudes towards work and home life.  The researchers found that 33% of daughters of working mothers held supervisory roles, compared to only 25% of daughters of stay-at-home moms.

While the mommy wars may continue on some level, it is clear that having a working mothers has economic, educational and social benefits for children of both sexes.

Ten New Trends for Women Travelers

March 10, 2015 § 3 Comments

phyllis photo correctWomen are traveling more than they have ever before.  Travel experts think that women represent the most important and fastest growing segment of the travel market, in terms of both leisure and business travel.

Phyllis Stoller is truly an expert on women travelers.  As head of The Women’s Travel Group since 1992, she is on the front line of travel trends and shares her Top Ten 2015 observations with us.  She says that women continue to lead in researching their trips, are seeking more exotic destinations, and are more interested in a healthy diet while traveling.  Understanding these trends is important to marketing to women travelers.

Here are her top ten new trends:

  1. Live for today spending. Overall, a carpe diem mentality is surpassing budget concerns. Maybe it is the economy or maybe single women are finally more affluent. A recent article in the NY Times examined the lifestyle of a healthcare employee, concluding that her higher-per-hour salary put her in a strong financial position for increased spending. And we are seeing these more affluent women traveling.   These women are in a professional position that allows for more discretionary spending.
  2. Women are requesting specific experiences. Online review sites are helping define and prioritize what women will do with their time on a trip, even where they will shop.  I have seen actual shopping lists with specific names of oversea stores. Online reviews encourage list making. We observe women listing specific places they want to visit on an itinerary, rather than stating just a destination like Tuscany.
  3. We still see unusual trips selling out fastest. The idea of leaving ‘your comfort zone’ has leaked into travel. A frisson, even a little scary, is a draw for many women. Women are seeking unusual and new destinations while men are more satisfied with more predictable golf resort destinations. Women are also looking for more intellectual stimulation and experience in their travel; 75% of those who take cultural, adventure or nature trips are women.
  4. Healthy diet on the road is increasingly important. As regional cuisine has become more sophisticated throughout the US, fine dining overseas is less of a priority, unless it comes with an experience (famous farm meal, known winery,  cooking demo).
  5. Hotel amenities become part of the travel experience. Along with the more liberal spending for travel, we notice women are again using hotel amenities like spa services. Their enjoyment of travel extends beyond the last tour, as women pack use of the hotel into each day. Today’s working women seek quality hotels and services equivalent or better than their business travel standards.
  6. Smartphones are the new travel accessory. Everyone has a smart phone.  Older women will actually get their smart phone before a trip as part of their travel gear. Wifi is the new umbilical cord for many. Entering a lovely hotel with wifi, women will look at their phones before admiring the lobby.
  7. Solo travelers still penalized. The single supplement is still an issue regarding cost and availability. Women are frequently penalized with a premium applied by some travel companies for traveling alone. Sharing is an option many still choose. But with a stronger economy, the single cost is slightly less formidable this year.
  8. Frequent flyer consultants needed. Frequent flyer mile accumulation continues to bother women; part of our job today is to help with creative uses of frequent flyer miles. Tour operators need to be frequent flyer consultants or lose passengers’ attention.
  9. No age limit for traveling. We see women 80+ still happy to travel and not just on cruises. As an FYI, three women of this age group went to India with us October 2014 along with other women aged 40+.
  10. Airline upgrades are more frequent among women. Maybe the upgrades are a sign of the economy or extra frequent flyer miles. But the upgrades are also a trend of not being afraid to spend money on one’s self.

Read more trends about marketing travel to women here.

 

Marketing to Women: Why Shopping Local is Important

December 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Linda Berry, Bella Linea Owner

Linda Berry, Bella Linea Owner

Shopping local is more than a trend. It is growing for several reasons. Shopping local is good for business, good for the environment and good for our desire to find one-of-a-kind, meaningful products.

Good for Business

Local shopping is not insignificant. In a world of online shopping and big box retailers, the 23 million independent stores in America account for 54 percent of sales. These independent stores provide 55 percent of jobs, and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s.

One study says that local business generates 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail. Keeping dollars in the local economy has been the rally cry for small business. My friend Linda Berry, owner of fine linen store Bella Linea in Nashville, Tennessee, recently shared some of the facts with her customers to reinforce the importance of keeping dollars in her community. She shared statistics showing that for every $100 spent at a locally owned store, $45 remains in the local economy, compared with about $13 per $100 spent at a big box and almost zero for online shopping.

A movement around Shopping Local has begun. American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 to encourage consumers to visit small businesses in their community as part of the after Thanksgiving shopping. This year shopping local has grown double digits. A report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express – the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey – revealed that 88 million consumers “shopped small” this year, up 14.9 percent from just a year ago.

Good for Our Need for One-of-A-Kind Finds and One-of-A-Kind Experiences

Shop-Local-This-Christmas-300x278Many retailers like Linda Berry also talk about the importance of meeting needs for today’s shoppers. Linda spends time traveling to find and create one-of-kind products that her customers can’t find anywhere else. Services like free designer consultation and free gift wrapping make small businesses like Bella Linea stand out among the mass marketers.

Trends like eating local and the Maker Movement also continue to provide unique goods and experiences that meet the desires of today’s consumer. The Maker Movement really captures the group of people creating individually made pieces for the home, small-batch food products, hand-knit, handmade and hand crafted items that can’t be mass produced.

Food has gone local with independent restaurants, local food purveyors, handmade food products and farmers markets proliferating.   Beyond the food, food experiences have become custom as well. There are food tours, hands-on cooking lessons and small batch wine classes.

Good for the Environment

And, surprisingly, shopping local is also good for the environment.   Shopping locally helps cut down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to less pollution and less fuel consumption.

So, with just a few days of the shopping season left, visit a local store and make a difference in your community.

A Salute to Fathers Who Raise Female Leaders

June 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Fathers DayFathers have a big impact on what their little girls do later in life. I remember my husband taking that first look at our little red-head when she was born and saying, “No one is going to stand in the way of anything she wants to do.”

It seems there is actual research to back up the father’s role in gender equality in the workplace, but the research is a little different than you might imagine; it’s not just about attitudes but more about actions. The study, from the University of British Columbia, shows that households with more gender-egalitarian roles actually inspire girls to wide-reaching career roles. Another case of “it’s not what you say, but what you do.”

What does this mean? In households where parents share household duties, girls were more likely to see their future roles with less gender bias.

“Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian, or stay-at-home-mom,” reports the Association for Physiological Science.

As the mother, my gender and work equality beliefs are key in predicting my children’s attitudes toward gender, but, according to the study, the strongest predictor of daughters’ own professional ambitions was their fathers’ approach to household chores.

Why is this important to know?

“This study is important because it suggests that achieving gender equality at home may be one way to inspire young women to set their sights on careers from which they have traditionally been excluded,” says Alyssa Croft, a PhD Candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Dept. of Psychology.

IMG_2016Girls are very sensitive to societal expectations, and are aware of the roles they’d be expected to take as wife, mother and housekeeper.

Back to the Dunham household, I have to thank my husband on this Father’s Day for being an inspiration for our daughter. He has been there to share in everything as we brought up a strong daughter and strong son. He has cooked, folded clothes, fixed cars and even shopped with our children. Today, our daughter is a rising public relations professional.

Are Female CEOs Being Thrown Off The “Glass Cliff”?

May 17, 2014 § 2 Comments

abramson101004_250New research shows that female CEOs and  senior executive women like Jill Abramson are more likely to be abruptly fired, thrown off the “glass cliff”, than men.  Researchers at Strategy& have released a report that found that women are forced out of chief executive positions more than a third of the time, while only a quarter of men in similar positions experience the same fate.  Oh, by the way, women only represent about 3% of new CEOs.

An illustration of this phenomenon could be the recent unceremonious departure of Jill Abramson as  executive editor of The New York Times.  Reporters everywhere are trying to get to the bottom of the story.   Is this a story of classic gender discrepancy where men are seen as strong, driven, and effective leaders while women are seen as churlish, pushy and bossy?  Was she a victim of the “glass cliff theory” where companies promote women to power in times of corporate crisis and then see their “management styles” as ineffective?  Doing your job may not always be enough.  During Abramson’s tenure, the New York Times won eight Pulitzer prizes, signups for digital increased, and the company stock doubled.

What does research show?

Women are more often hired from outside the company and women are more often forced out of the office (38% women vs. 27% men).  Many  of these companies still lack enough female senior executives below the CEO level who can move up to a CEO position.  Companies hiring female executives from outside are also likely to be less tolerant of shortcomings than they are with executives groomed in-house. And external CEOs are seven times more likely to be dismissed after a short tenure.  What happens after a female CEO is fired?  The boardrooms fall back into traditional behavior – they hire white men with experience. 

Should we “Ban Bossy”?

650queenSheryl Sandberg and the Girl Scouts agree on one thing – We should “Ban Bossy”.  The word bossy can discourage women from seeking leadership positions.  In one of Sandberg’s anti-bossy spots, celebrity Beyoncé proclaims, “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.” According to the Girl Scouts Ban Bossy National Youth Poll 2014, more than a third of girls who are called “bossy” lose interest in leading and stop making decisions or suggestions.

While women are increasing the top levels of management, there is still a long way to go.  The proportion of women in the CEO position has doubled to nearly 4% in the past five years and could rise to 33% by 2040.  But old habits, the gender norms of corporate leadership, remain hard to change.

 

Marketing Travel to Women: Traveling Solo and Loving It!

February 13, 2014 § 2 Comments

IMG_3281Paula Froelich, author of A Broad Abroad, knows quite a lot about traveling solo.  There are 32 million single women who traveled solo in the past year.  And when I say travel, I don’t mean going home to Mama’s or the beach.  Women are taking adventure vacations and going to exotic locales all over the world.  (Read Paula’s tips on why you should go to Egypt now.)

In fact, the average adventure traveler is not a male, but a 47-year-old female.  Fueling this travel trend is the growth in single women.  One third of all women are single “indies” – a new term for those over 27, not married, not living with a partner and without children.

So it is time for travel marketers to acknowledge this growing group of travelers.  These women are more educated, affluent, adventurous and curious about life.  They want real experiences that are intellectually stimulating.  And they would like the marketing to speak to them and their needs – not the happy empty nester couple or the nuclear family.

Read more in Paula’s great infographic.SOLO-TRAVEL-INFOGRAPHIC

Marketing to Moms: Four in Ten Households Have Breadwinner Moms

May 29, 2013 § 1 Comment

woman_juggling_rolesThe statistics are staggering!  Today, four in ten households with children under 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family.  Some 50 years ago, that number was one in ten.

I have been interested in the growth of Breadwinner Wives for some time.  The 2010 Census gave us our first glimpse at the growth of this group and now Pew Research has provided us with more information on the growth of Breadwinner Moms.  Here are some of Pew’s fascinating findings:

Two different groups of Breadwinner Moms. The “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers.

Married mothers differ from single moms. Compared with all mothers with children under age 18, married mothers who out-earn their husbands are slightly older, disproportionally white and college educated. Single mothers, by contrast, are younger, more likely to be black or Hispanic, and less likely to have a college degree.

• Women make up almost of half (47%) of the U.S. labor force today, and the employment rate of married mothers with children has increased from 37% in 1968 to 65% in 2011.

• More women want to work full time. The share of mothers saying their ideal situation would be to work full time increased from 20% in 2007 to 32% in 2012. And the share saying they would prefer not to work at all fell from 29% to 20%.

•  Mixed emotions about women working.  About three-quarters of adults (74%) say the increasing number of women working for pay has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made marriages harder to succeed. At the same time, two-thirds say it has made it easier for families to live comfortably.

• Both groups of breadwinner mothers, married and single, have grown in size in the past five decades. Of all households with children younger than 18, the share of married mothers who out-earn their husbands has gone up from 4% in 1960 to 15% in 2011, nearly a fourfold increase. During the same period, the share of families led by a single mother has more than tripled (from 7% to 25%).

SDT-2013-05-breadwinner-moms-1-2

 

Marketing to Women: Slideshare as Advertising on LinkedIn

March 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

operafrocks460For marketers trying to reach business audiences, this new LinkedIn ad feature is something to sing about.  For advertising folks, it might be a nightmare, depending on how creative the slideshow is.   Imagine this – you can include your slide presentation in an ad.  It’s turning the humble Powerpoint into a new form of interactive advertising.

slide-3-638_610x458Here’s how it works.

On your LinkedIn page, you have a sidebar area where text ads are included.  Now, you will see the Slideshare box in that sidebar. (See red outlined area.)  It’s a Slideshare presentation sized down for the ad dimensions.  You will be able to click on it and see the presentation without leaving LinkedIn.  You will only be served an ad if you are the target audience.

The concept was initially tested with GE and Constant Contact with success.  The ads are called SlideShare Content Ads.  They will appear as a “sponsored presentation,” and users can click through it within the advertisement or they can expand it into a full-page view. It’s also a way to acquire leads through links and information capture.

For us advertising geeks, here’s the scoop from Adweek:  “The ads are being priced on a cost-per-thousand-impressions basis and can be targeted to LinkedIn users’ profile information, such as company name or size, seniority and job function, said a LinkedIn spokesperson. In terms of reporting metrics, “LinkedIn provides an aggregate of non-personally identifiable profile and demographic data of members who see a campaign. This includes things like the job function, industry and seniority of those that view and click.  Also included is content viewing metrics like number of views, average time on presentations, and average time spent per slide,” the spokesperson said.”

Sample Ad

Why Slideshare?

These LinkedIn folks are pretty smart.  They purchased Slideshare last year and we are now seeing the fruits of their labor.  They recently launched their Influencer prominent blogger program.  And now there is chatter about the purchase of my favorite news reader Pulse.  Imagine what they can do with that platform.  LinkedIn is definitely building a unique business content platform.

Marketing to Women: One-third of All Women Are Single “Indies”

March 2, 2013 § 7 Comments

block-3-image-2It’s a new day for women and there is even a new term for the group that are over 27, not married, not living with a partner, and without children.  They are called the Indies.  This group has been growing and currently include some 31 million women, about a third of all adult women.  They now surpass the number of married moms!  Time for marketers to make a mind shift!  Some say this is the most neglected segment of the population.

What happened to the nuclear family?  It has blown up!  It represented 44% of homes in 1960 and is only 22% of homes today.

Click here to see a film about Indies produced by NBCUniversal’s Integrated Media group.

Some 96% of Millennials list “being independent as their single most important life goal” and only 50% said that getting married was a priority.   They are well educated and successful.  They are 57% of undergrads, 59% of masters degree holders, and 52% of managerial positions.  And having a significant other does not define them – 77% of them are happy being single.

Adweek reported last year that young professionals “often find it’s easier to [build their networks and careers] if they don’t have obligations to others,” adds Eric Klinenberg, author and professor of sociology, public policy and media, culture and communications at New York University. Moreover, living alone, he says, gives them control: “They can work late or go out late, and they can bring home whoever they want.”

This group of “indies” should be important to marketers because they have more disposable income that other women.  They spend about $1 trillion each year.  They buy one-fifth of all homes.  They spend on cars ($22 billion which is five times more than independent men), entertainment ($20 billion), and food ($50 billion).

Marketers may find them easier to target because they over-index for television by 12% and they are multi-screen users.  They spend more time on social media and on their smartphones.  They are online seeking information and acting as advocates.  They are reading peer reviews and ratings, giving health and nutrition advice and are more likely to be the first to shop at a new store.

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