The Biggest Shift in the Twenty-First Century

A Conversation with Maddy Dychtwald, author of Influence: How Women's Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better

By John David Mann

When it comes to how major demographic shifts are shaping our world, there are no two names more widely respected than Maddy and Ken Dychtwald, cofounders of Age Wave. A multimillion-dollar enterprise with a time-honored reputation, Age Wave is the nation’s foremost thought leader on population aging and its profound social and economic implications. Two and a half years ago, in our September/October 2008 issue, we spoke with Ken about this shift and “the new midlife.” This issue, we visit with the other half of the equation.

Maddy Dychtwald’s new book
Influence begins by chronicling the ascent of women as an economic force: in 2009, women held 49 percent of U.S. non-farm jobs; from 1991 to 2001 the number of women earning $100,000 or more tripled. Dubbing this growing economic bloc a “sleeping giantess,” Dychtwald quotes past U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich: “I wouldn’t be surprised if, in ten years, the typical woman in the workforce was earning more than the typical man.”

But that is not the book’s conclusion, only its starting place: Dychtwald and her coauthor Christine Larson go on to explore the impact this shift is having on the world. If you’ve ever wondered, “What would the world look like if, instead of being run by men, it was run by men and women equally?”—then read on. Because Maddy Dychtwald has some authoritative answers to that age-old question. — J.D.M.

Something that intrigued me in your study, “Women, Money and Power,” is the discovery that women exhibit distinctly different kinds of behavior than men in relation to business.

That’s right. There had been a lot of studies on women and money, but they tended to cover the same bases. How much do women have? How much do they spend? They didn’t provide much insight into what actually drives women.

That’s what we were interested in exploring.

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