Monthly Archives: December 2013

What Women Want

Happy Holidays!  How was your 2013?  Did you recover from the recession?  Are you finding a new world order?  What are the changes you have seen in this new economy?  Please let us know, start the conversation!

Among other things this past year,  we have been updating our research regarding “What Women Want.”  We have found that in the twenty first century, this is a touchy subject!  Go figure! When we presented the idea of a panel on this subject to a major commercial real estate development trade organization, they told us they liked the topic, but could we make it less “woman” focused.  That’s like asking a comedian in the Catskills to be a little less “shticky.”

First, I had to re-read Lean In.  After finishing the brilliant treatise  presented in the most contemporary of books on working women by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, I was very happy knowing that someone actually “gets it” and is not afraid to talk about it.  Yes, there is still  discrimination against women in the workplace, but we also limit ourselves through the way we have been raised.   If you haven’t read the book, you can go the abridged version   

http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html  for a summary of the key points.

Sheryl summarizes her key points as follows:

  1.  Make your partner a real partner
  2. Sit at the table
  3. Don’t leave before you leave

Another startling revelation in statistics tell us that success and likeability are positively correlated in men, but negatively correlated with women!  So, the lesson here for women, be sweet and beautiful on your way to the corner office (but your male counterpart can be a jerk).

We have looked at some of the stats presented by the Census Bureau over the past 40 to 60 years, and picked out the following trends, which affect all of us.

Women are marrying older; the average age for a woman to marry was 26 in 2006, up from about 20 in 1950.  Men wait until they are almost 30!  The trend suggests that women are taking time to establish themselves in the workplace  before settling into their lives.

Median Age at First Marriage40% of the total female population was unmarried in 2009, compared to about 30% in 1970.  This means that women consumers  are increasingly making buying decisions on their own.Marital Status

The average number of children per mother has dropped for all age groups, with the most dramatic in the 40-44, from about 3.4 in 1976 to 2.3 in 2008.  No age group has over 2.4 average births per mother:

Average Number of Children per MotherSince 1990, among adults 25-34, women earn a larger percentage of Bachelor’s degrees than men, besting them by 7 percent in 2008.

Percent of Adults Age 25-34 with a Bachelor's Degree or HigherIn spite of this educational gap, women still earn only 80 cents on the dollar to what men earn, up from 67 cents on the dollar in 1984.  And in the highly coveted STEM category (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics),  women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, but hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.

Practical application of these facts?  About 15 years ago, Paul Allen’s development company, Purple Moon, conducted research into females’ brains as the basis for creation of computer games for girls.  It was never very successful, but now, Goldie Blox are flying off the shelves this Christmas.  What are they?  This product developed by Debbie Sterling, a Millenial Mechanical Engineer from Stanford, teaches  girls how to build and construct stuff.

According to a story on ABC, Ms. Sterling was fed up with the lack of women in her engineering field (the latest studies from the National Science Foundation show that 11 percent of engineers of women), Sterling, came up with an idea after coming across research that kids’ toys could have a huge impact on their career choices.

“My head literally started spinning and I was so disappointed that there weren’t things that would inspire girls to [use] their brains,” Sterling, 30, said. “The girl aisle was kind of about how to be pretty and I wanted to put something in there that girls can see that they too could find a passion in engineering and that they too could find these subjects fun.”

And so the idea for Goldie Blox, toys that encourage girls to not just play with dollhouses but build them, was born. The product is now carried in 500 retailers, including Toys Are Us.  At $9.99 to $29.99 this toy is priced at the sweet spot for toy giving this year.

Another toy for girls, Roominate, is a building tool for girls to actually design, build and wire their dollhouses.  Conceived and developed by two women from Cal Tech, MIT and Stanford, prices range from $9.99 up to $199.00. Both these products got their initial funding from Kickstarter, an internet based angel funder.

And let’s not forget our favorite, American Girl dolls.  They may be expensive, but worth the price.  They teach girls about their heritage with experiential, active play.

Holiday Greetings to all our friends and readers!  It has been another year of learning and laughing.  We think of you often and want to hear from you!  Let’s make 2014 the best ever in the world of entertainment and development!

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