Every year our organization internally debates whether we should have a Women in Business issue or simply continue to highlight the brilliant women business leaders and entrepreneurs in the region in every issue. The conclusion is we should do both. The achievements and advances of women in the workforce impact every theme we try to unpack monthly for our readers.

To demonstrate the power women wield on both sides of the economic transaction, consider these statistics Dale Burrus wrote about in BigThink. In family purchases that involve two adults (a woman and a man), women make:

• 94% of the purchase decision on home furnishings

• 92% of the purchase decision on family vacations

• 91% of the purchase decision on home purchases

• 80% of the purchase decision on health care

• 60% of the purchase decision on family cars

• 51% of the purchase decision on consumer electronics

I believe the only purchase decisions men take the lead on are for tools, video games and outdoor barbecues.

Since women are the key purchasers, more and more they are also at the helm of companies making the products women are buying for themselves and their families. With 865 million women poised to enter the working world by 2020, competitive countries will have to rely on the strength of their female CEOs (and those in other top roles) to keep up.