Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Long Way, Baby

Hillary Clinton speaks to the Democratic Convention on the 88th anniversary of ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote. Tennessee became the 36th state to endorse the legislation on August 26th, 1920.

The ascension of women into politics and business followed. Many would argue that women’s sufferage helped usher in the great prosperity of U.S. after World War II.

Consider the addition of a large portion of domestic activities to the commercial relm. As women stepped out of their homes to work in hospitals, schools and business, caregivers and cleaners went into the home as salaries employees to do housework. Subsequently many other industries from consumer goods manufacturing to health care adjusted product and service offerings to meet the demands of a gender newly engaged as commercially productive people and not just domestic consumers. The impact of adding women to the workforce continues to ripple through the economy even today.

In 2007, the U.S. per capita Gross Domestic Product was $45,485. Compare that to $23,243 per person in Saudi Arabia, a country where women remain considerable more restricted than most in the Western World.

Clearly there are a number of factors impacting world economies, but the emancipation of women must be included as one.

In the 1960s a popular advertisement used the phrase, “you’ve come a long way baby.” The U.S. economy has followed.

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