Hear me out. I know this title is loaded with spiritual and religious symbolism but this post is about economics -- and yes, maybe there's some esoteric underline but I believe you will enjoy it.
The world seems to be at a standstill waiting for the worst to happen while in reality, it seems like that stagnation is causing more damage than anything else. Since last year, we have been experiencing a ghost recession that has had some real repercussions but mostly it has people frozen in fear of what could happen.
Startups went from raising millions with little to no traction in 2021 to shutting down, having down rounds, or getting acquired before being ripe during this year.
At the same time, we've seen some hope. The rise of female-led consumption is a trend that is shaping our economy. Globally, women control about $28 trillion in annual consumer spending.
Women-led businesses are thriving in certain sectors despite economic challenges. According to Bloomberg, women-led companies outperformed the S&P 500 index by 70% from 2015 to 2020. These statistics show that women-led businesses are not only surviving but also thriving in the face of adversity. They are creating value, generating revenue, and changing industries.
Women-led businesses are successful because they bring unique qualities and perspectives to the table. According to Harvard Business Review, women are more likely than men to focus on social impact, customer satisfaction, and long-term growth. They are also more likely to collaborate, communicate, and empathize with their stakeholders. These qualities are not just good for business. They are good for society. Women-led businesses are more likely to create jobs, support communities, and promote diversity and inclusion.
I believe we are at a critical turning point in the global economy in which women are taking center stage and are about to show everyone how much they (we) have to offer.
During the Covid lockdown, most women had to assume multiple roles in cisgender traditional households. They had to manage to working from home, taking care of the kids, and doing most of the household chores so men could have more space to work and attend meetings.
This wasn't true in all households but data shows that in most of them, women were multitasking. Some women resorted to quitting their jobs so they could manage to attend to their kids and homes, and multiple others quit their jobs to start a side hustle to have more flexibility in their daily tasks. And this doesn't account for the many other ways women without kids or partners managed to grow and develop during this time.
After 3 years of intense work and trying to regain normalcy, women have been put through the wringer and are now stronger than ever.
On May 10th, Beyoncé's Renaissance Tour started in Stockholm. Months before, her tour announcement had fans pre-register to be able to purchase tickets as it was expected to be a sold-out event.
In November of last year, Taylor Swift broke the internet while fans were trying to buy tickets for her anticipated tour.
In July of this year, The Barbie Movie broke all box office records while millions of fans around the world showed up to watch the movie dressed up in pink.
While these three events are not 100% driven by female consumers, they all come from female producers and businesswomen. These events demonstrate how women-led businesses can thrive in different sectors and create value for their audiences.
I called this article the Divine Feminine because what women are showing the world with the stats from these events is nothing short of a miracle. For months we've been hearing how bad this economy is, how high inflation is getting, and how we should hold off from investing in anything.
And all it takes is for one woman to show up in a city to make each one of their fans spend $1300 total just to have an enjoyable few hours watching a show.
The Barbie movie had one of the most remarkable marketing campaigns seen in ages. Thousands of brands around the world have participated in promoting this movie. And thousands more did it for free because they realized how excited everyone was about it.
And what was the main message of the movie? That for ages, women have been pinned against each other to compete for men's attention. We've been brainwashed into believing that we needed to be perfect to be worthy. And it's time we are done with that. It's time we enjoy being who we are and we embrace being human and start lifting each other up.
America Ferrera's character in the movie had a moving dialogue that went viral as so many women resonated with each word she said.
As a first-time female founder, this dialogue felt deeply personal. I took the liberty of slightly modifying it to fit the startup scene:
"It is impossible to be a woman founder. We have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we're always doing it wrong. You have to be attractive to get people to pay attention, but not too attractive so they don't think you are not smart. You have to raise money, but you can't ask for money, you are required to ask for mentorships instead. You have to be a boss with vision but you have to manage every single word you say so others don't interpret them negatively. You have to lead, but you can't call yourself a leader -- you are required to be humble every time you speak of yourself. If you have kids, you are constantly questioned on your priorities -- if you don't they question your motives. You have to answer for men's bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you're accused of complaining. You're supposed to stay pretty, but not so pretty that you seem like you pay more attention to yourself than your job. But always stand out and always be grateful and graceful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that but also always be grateful. You have to prove you are already perfect but also have room for improvement so you can be coachable. You are always "too early" and when you are not "too early" anymore you are probably past the milestones you are required for your stage. And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault. Your valuation will always be too high or questioned, and if you point out you are coming below the market average then they tag you for not having enough vision. I'm just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us and invest in us."
The moral of this post is not to bring men down, it is to open everyone's eyes to the gold mine that female entrepreneurs are. We have been built under pressure, and we are tired of being second best, or worst, never good enough. We are making more with less: less resources, less time, less space. We are the true diamonds in the rough.
Investing in women-led businesses is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. Women-led businesses are thriving despite economic challenges. They are successful because they bring unique qualities and perspectives to the table. They can contribute to economic growth by unleashing a wave of innovation, creativity, and social impact that can transform our economy. By investing in women-led businesses, we can create a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous future for everyone. Women are currently holding the keys to what prosperity will look like in the coming years.