Everyday conversations: Women and the economy [audio]

Students stand in front of the International Monetary Fund building and discuss women and the economy. (State Dept./D.A. Peterson)

Six students from around the world meet. What do they have in common? They are all exchange students studying at a U.S. university for a semester. Throughout the semester, they learn more English, learn about U.S. culture, and learn more about their fields of study. This series of Everyday Conversations is about these six students and their experiences during a semester at a university in the U.S. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

In this conversation, two students (Akinyi and Lee) talk about the world economy and women’s role in it.

Lee: Whenever I see your microecon homework, it seems like a different language.

Akinyi: It’s not so bad. I’m interested in the world economy, but microecon helps me understand how individuals affect the markets which affect the world economy.

Lee: I can understand that. Consumer decisions affect the environmental health of the world. What part of the global economy are you most interested in?

Akinyi: I’m really interested in women as part of the global marketplace. Women are becoming more important as consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors. Their purchasing power will keep increasing as more women are educated and enter the workforce.

Lee: Does educating more women and girls make a big difference in a country’s economy?

Akinyi: Absolutely. Evidence shows that educating girls will boost the prosperity of a country. Better educated women are more productive. And their children are healthier and also better educated.

Lee: It’s definitely a win-win.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

Microecon is short for microeconomics. Microeconomics is the part of economics interested in economic decisions of individual people and businesses.

In economic terms, a market is a system of exchange, usually with buying and selling of products and services.

A consumer is a person who uses a product or service and often is the person who also purchases the product or service.

Global marketplace is a term for all the people who can buy products and services in all countries of the world.

An entrepreneur is a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.

An investor is a person who uses money to earn more money, by purchasing part of a company, property, etc.

Purchasing power is the ability that a person or group has to buy products and services with his or her money.

The workforce of a country is the number of people who are available to work in that particular country.

To boost means to increase something or to make something better.

Prosperity is the state of being successful, especially in making money.

Productive means doing or achieving a lot, getting good results as a result of work.

A win-win situation (or a win-win, for short) is a situation that produces a good result for everyone or everything involved.

Ready to learn more English? Our materials can help.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.