This morning's paper was chock full of interesting stories. I found two that are reflective of the modern woman's role in society - ours, here in the U.S., and out there in the world, specifically in Chile.
First, an Associated Press story in my local paper titled, "Chile welcomes its new era," tells the story of Michelle Bachelet who defeated Ricardo Lagos in a December 2005 runoff vote to achieve the role of president. The amazing part of this story, and why it so relates to much of what I talk about here, is that woman in Chile "often earn up to 40% less than men doing the same work," and that in Chile, divorce was only legalized two years ago. According to sociologist Teresa Valdes, who is quoted in the story, "Gender inequities, discrimination and exclusion of women have historically been very deep in Chile."
Yet, the country elected a woman president. Something we talk about in the U.S. but which isn't likely to happen any time soon.
This is exciting news on the female-friendly front. It speaks to women in ways that make our hearts pound a little faster, in ways that make us smile (the picture of Michelle Bachelet and her winning smile is inspiring), and in ways that make us go, "hmmmm."
On the surface, this story seems to have little to do with marketing, but...in reality, it's a gem of a story - and you should be talking about it on your website, or your blog. You should be gathering the particulars and using them to build a solid campaign to show your support of women in politics, of women venturing out of their comfort zone - of women who have strong, supportive men by their sides - because these are your customers. And your customers want to know that you care: about them, about issues that are important to them, and about world affairs. Note this comment - which you should post, if you do nothing else - a comment from Bachelet which reflects emerging changes in societal constrainsts (all over the world) on how women and men view each other.
She said, "Back in 1952 when Chile's president for the first time offered a woman a Cabinet post, she said she had to consult with her husband before accepting. When I called several men to offer them Cabinet posts, they told me they would check with their wives first."
Let's move on to another interesting story, posted in the Dallas Morning News: "Women build a place in construction." I wrote about this in my book, citing numerous instances where women are venturing into predominantly male-dominated spaces (truck driving, construction, engineering are a few). This article is eye-opening. Apparently, in Texas - that Good Old Boy's State - "thanks to a raw need - the construction boom in north Texas - more women... are heading firms in specialities ranging from framing to architecture and engineering." [registration required at Dallas Morning News, although when I first clicked in to the site, I got the article straightaway.]
This story packs a double whammy - because the women it talks about, women heading these formly male-dominated industries, are Hispanic. Those of you in the know will be nodding your heads, because Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S. today. I have said before and will say many times more, that you had better make friends with Hispanic women - because their growing financial power is sure to affect your bottomline - sooner than later.
The Center for Women's Business Research is quoted in the article, noting that, "The No. 1 reason women choose to be in a nontraditional business is to generate income and financial independence. The second reason is satisfaction and passion about the work." As a woman quoted in the story says, "Relationship building wins contracts but goes hand in glove with reputation building."
Create a passion for relationship building - and watch your reputation soar, when you learn how to market to women successfully. Now, get out there and vote for a woman for president.