By Susan Bonifield, Nu Beta (U of Mississippi), International President
After breaking the record for the most Grammy wins in history in February 2023 and selling out stadiums all over North America on her current tour, there’s no doubt that Beyoncé understands the power of women. For all the Beyoncé fans out there, I have a question for you. Who runs the world? Girls! Beyoncé said it, so it must be true. Women run the world. Even though it sometimes goes unrecognized, there is substantial evidence showing the impact women have on our world.
Although women make up approximately half the US population, they dominate the economy, controlling or influencing 85% of all consumer spending. The second largest group of homebuyers, after married couples, are single women. Women are the sole source of income in 40% of US households and, since 2007, the number of women-owned businesses has grown 58% as compared to the overall business growth of 12%. In 2018, women held almost 20% of all seats on boards of Canadian corporations and were majority or equal owners of 40% of all private enterprises in Canada.
Women make 80% of the healthcare decisions and 70% of the travel decisions in the United States. Women control 60% of all personal wealth in the US and, by 2028, Canadian women will control $4 trillion in assets, almost doubling the $2.2 trillion they control today. Looking forward, this trend of women’s leadership is sure to continue, as women are becoming the more educated gender by receiving more bachelor’s and master’s degrees than men.
So, in this world where the influence women have is significant, I am more grateful than ever to Stella, Helen, Jess, and Bess. They were forward-thinking enough to see the value a sisterhood like ours could have not only to its individual members but also to the world around it.
Some believe that sororities are an outdated construct and no longer serve a positive purpose. I believe quite the opposite. As long as women desire a supportive environment and a community of peers, sororities will have a place. As long as women seek to explore the issues that affect their lives alongside other intelligent and thoughtful leaders, it is directly in alignment with our founding principles to be that place. The skills we develop because of our AOII experience give us the tools we need to address the difficult issues we all face in a collaborative way while relying on the values we all promised to uphold to guide us.
In Stella’s words, “you are all founders of Alpha Omicron Pi today, quite as truly as we were in the beginning.” Let us honor each other as sisters and most importantly, as powerful and influential women who run the world!