Women drive our global economy. They control more than $20 trillion in annual consumer spending today, and that figure is expected to rise to nearly $30 trillion annually in the next five years. As a market, they represent an opportunity more than twice as big as China and India combined. And the number of women joining the workforce is expected to rise by 80 million by the end of this decade, creating a new wave of female professionals and consumers. But most companies have a long way to go to serve women. While many have made public commitments to gender equity, their efforts are often limited to their workforce and overlook the needs of women in their communities. In doing so, they continue to perpetuate gender inequities at a societal level and fail to capture the value the female economy presents.

In Centering Equity for Corporate Purpose, we talk about how companies leading on equity get into relationship with the problem before they start to develop solutions. For companies who are authentically committed to gender equity, this means looking at disparities for women in their workforce through essential initiatives like elevating women into senior leadership positions and eliminating gender pay gaps. But it also means going further to deeply understand issues of equity for women that have been hidden or unexplored across their business model.

A central tenet of these companies’ gender equity journey is designing for and with women. They do this by asking themselves how they are overlooking the needs of women in their workforce, supply chain, and society at large. By considering what it will take to adapt their products, services, and systems to meet women’s needs. And by bringing to the table a diversity of perspectives, expertise and evidence from across the business and beyond to co-design solutions. Below we present two stories, each one inspired by real FSG clients and partners, to show what this looks like in practice and the results that designing for and with women can deliver.

Read the full article about gender equity in corporations by Flynn Lebus Kate Tallant Meier at FSG.