THE BLOG

The Female Paradigm

05/09/2013 11:15 BST | Updated 03/11/2013 10:12 GMT

As the Chinese would say, there is a Ying to every Yang, balance is what is needed for harmony in this world.

After a testosterone-appealing article on vintage cars last month, I would like to draw on Eastern philosophy to embrace my readers' feminine side. I also want to ponder on another meaning to "alternative", as in "existing or functioning outside the established cultural, social, or eco- nomic systems". I am talking about investing in women.

Ladies: Here is some ammunition to spice some (unpleasant) conversations with male counterparts. Hav- ing had a corporate career in male-dominated industries (financial services and oil and gas) and function (finance), I know what it feels like.

Gentlemen: Silence your inner sarcastic voice and look at these telling statistics. Women control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending globally, according to the Harvard Business Review in 2009. This number is expected to reach $30 trillion by 2030.

According to business writer Tom Peters, women account for about 83% of all consumer purchase across any category of industries - yes, any category, cars, technology and real estate included.

Savvy businessmen, which I am sure you all are, it is time to further consider women as a powerful yet specific market.

A female presence at board level contributes to healthier and higher return on equity and total return for shareholders by up to 35% and 34% respectively, according to Catalyst, an organisation that promotes women in business.

l Women-led start-ups generate higher revenues per dol- lar of invested capital and have lower failure rates than those led by men. Additionally, twice as many experienced women as men set up their own business.

Shrewd investors that I know you certainly are, you want maximised returns and look for a derisked portfolio. Look no further. Invest in diversity. Proactively rebalance your investment criteria to allocate investment in women-led start-ups.

More women are graduating from college than men - 2.6 million more female than male university students currently in the US.

At the end of last year, the EU, introduced a range of measures to increase transparency in the board appoint- ment process for 5,000 listed companies across Europe. Pressure is increasing to reach the 40% quota for female board membership, opening the door for unsuccessful female candidates to take legal action.

Wise leaders, that I hope you are, this is a wake-up call. If you want to compete in the talent war, if you want proactively to address the regulatory pressure on your own terms, invest in nurturing your next generation of women leaders.