Apparently, Millenial Women are Now in Charge of the Economy

By: Alex Trent | Published: Apr 14, 2024

A new study from Ned Davis Research (NDR) has found that prime working-age female job participation has hit record highs. The study found an increase of women in their 20s and 30s in the global workforce compared to the participation of men in the same age range.

This was true of women in several countries, including the US, Australia, Japan, Italy, Germany, and South Korea. The study predicts that this rise will have positive impacts on the economy in the future.

Millennial Women

The NDR study titled “The Rising Influence of Millennial Women” looked at this growing trend of rising global female work participation.

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“Female participation in the prime age labor force has soared all over the world, outpacing that of males. In the U.S., there’s has been a notable surge in participation among Millennial women, who spend more and differently than their male counterparts,” the study said.


Workforce Participation

The study found a trend in the change in labor activity between men and women in the millennial age range. In Australia, women’s workforce participation has soared by 3.25%, compared to male participation which was only up 0.25%.

A table full of women working in a corporate setting.

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In America, this difference between the two groups was only 0.5%, but it still followed the trend of women’s activity increasing more than men’s did.

What the Data Shows

This report was written by NDR chief economist Alejandra Grindal and Senior analyst Patrick Ayers. Data shows that in 19 major economies worldwide, women who are aged 25 to 34 are now more likely to have higher levels of education than men.

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This is one data point that can be helpful in explaining the difference between male and female participation in the workforce.

Men are Struggling

This research dovetails with similar recent data that shows men are increasingly struggling with attaining higher levels of education.

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University Business reported in 2023 that men are falling behind at colleges at alarming rates. More than 40% of men considered dropping out of college in 2022, who say that it is challenging to stay enrolled.

Hard to Get Help

Students who consider dropping out report that the building of emotional stress and significant mental health issues are major considerations in the decision to abandon college.

A man sits on a chair with its face in his hand.

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Male students also have these internal struggles but are less willing and able to seek out and receive help for their problems compared to women.


College Graduation Rates for Women

There are now more female college graduates compared to men every year. Around 3% more women than men have college degrees in America, with the gap being even wider when looking at the age range of 25-34.

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In 2021, Pew Research found that 46% of women in this age range have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 36% of men.


Women More Likely to Get Financial Awards

One difference that might account for the growing gap in college graduation rates is that women are more likely than men to get some types of financial assistance.  Women in Academia Report found in 2023 that women had a 45.1 percent chance of receiving grants from the federal government while men only had a 34.7 percent chance.

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However, women received an average grant of $8,900, which was lower than what men received on average which was $9,700. Loan averages for men and women are nearly the same.


College Educated Women Now Outnumber Men

In the American workforce, college-educated workers are now majority women. The change was documented to have occurred during the late part of 2019 and has remained consistent ever since.

A blonde woman holds up a piece of avocado toast.

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Pew Research reported in 2022 that 50.7% of college-educated people in the American workforce are women and that the trend is unlikely to reverse.


Some Men Don’t Want Degrees

Pew Research found in 2021 in a survey that about one-third of men reported that they “just didn’t want to” get a college degree. Athena Kan, the CEO of Dreambound, a career and technical training platform, explained a possible reason behind this phenomenon.

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“A lot of men don’t see the point of a degree when it’s so expensive and they feel a lot of nihilism about their job prospects post-college,” Kan said.


Women Controlling the Economy

In the NDR study, Grindal examined the effect millennial women are now having on the economy compared to men. Women who are between 25 and 44 outspend men in the same age range by $1,000 to $2,000 every year. This is despite women generally having lower incomes than men in that age group.

A woman wearing sunglasses carrying bags from a shopping trip.

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As women start to control the workforce more, increased income and spending habits will help stimulate the economy. The report estimated that if the female labor participation rate increased to 60% then the US GDP would increase by 3%.


Bettering Education

As the current education gap between men and women continues, there may be hope for future generations in the hands of women. Grindal brings up an important point about women’s role in education and how they tend to care more about funding it.

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“Females also have a greater tendency to spend money on educating their children, which leads to more productive generations down the road,” Grindal wrote.