A Quinnipiac poll issued last week found that in a potential 2016 presidential matchup former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would crush former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by 51-40 percent, a particularly shocking finding since Clinton is not currently a candidate for the 2016 election and because Florida is known as a generally conservative state. In fact, a Business Insider article from last week made headlines as it reported that several sources in the Republican Party were nervous about Clinton’s decision as well.
“If she runs, she’ll be almost impossible, I fear,” said one Washington-based Republican strategist.
Though it might be too early to start buying Hillary Clinton 2016 bumper stickers, the effects of a female president on business and economy may come as a surprise to many Americans. Clinton’s emphasis on recruiting more women into working positions has been clear throughout her time as Secretary of State and as a U.S. Senator, having heralded several programs for women in business.
As she famously stated, “When it comes to the enormous challenge of our time — to systematically and relentlessly pursue more economic opportunity in our lands — we don’t have a person to waste and we certainly don’t have a gender to waste.”
Since 2006, Clinton has endorsed the idea that women are an untapped economic resource in business and, if her campaign is successful in 2016, the role of women in the business sector could be permanently transformed.
With the dust from the 2012 presidential election finally settled, voters have already begun to call out for Clinton to throw her hat into the presidential ring in 2016. Premature support for Clinton’s campaign continued to grow after Clinton announced her resignation from the Secretary of State position. Though she has been noncommittal about presidential plans for the future, Clinton is arguably one of the best prospects for the presidency in the next election. And, if she chooses to run, she will be nearly impossible to beat.
Though her resume is nothing short of impressive, Clinton’s business tactics in politics set her even further apart from her political counterparts.
“We also understand that America’s economic strength and our global leadership are a package deal,” Clinton said. “Our power in the 21st century depends not just on the size of our military, but also on how we grow, how well we innovate, what we make and on how effectively we sell.”
Part of this growth, Clinton argues, is in the number of working women.
Clinton said that “there is no doubt that the increasing numbers of women in the economy has helped fuel significant growth everywhere. And economies that are making the shift more effectively and rapidly are dramatically outperforming those that have not.”
Clinton is not the only person to make the connection. A recent Catalyst survey found a strong correlation between gender diversity in the executive positions of a corporation and that business’ overall economic performance. As CNN analyst Brooke Burke argues, “If women’s economic potential can be successfully harnessed and leveraged, it would be the equivalent of having an additional one billion individuals in business and in the workforce contributing to the global economy.”
The results of this kind of thinking have already affected countries outside of the U.S. Avon, the cosmetic company, for example, gives millions of women in more than 100 countries the opportunity to become entrepreneurs, resulting in more than $10 billion in revenue. Within the United States, Walmart has opted to invest more than $20 billion in female-led companies in the United States alone. What these companies have discovered is that tapping into women as a resource has enormous financial incentives. According to the International Center for Research on Women, “investing in women is recognized not only as the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do.”
Clinton’s success in 2016 might not have effects on businesses in terms of financial policy, but the political impact of her win may be more compelling. Clinton has been a proponent of women in business for her entire political career, but it is only recently that her strategy of positioning women as an economic resource has come in to play. If the odds are in her favor in 2016, it is this ideology that might affect numbers of working women everywhere.
Payal Mukerji is a junior majoring in business administration.