At the end of April, NPR launched a special series called The Changing Lives of Women. Offering the perfect blend of information and inspiration, it explores how times and roles are changing due to the incredible force that women are in the world today. As legions of women are continuing to leave their homes to enter the paid work force (an estimated 1 billion in the coming decade), economic growth is stimulated. As NPR explains, “That’s among the most powerful trends shaping our world. As female wage earners gain greater autonomy, they are making decisions that are reshaping personal lives as well as economic trends.”

The first piece on economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett is a perfect example of how women are making their way in the world. Hewlett encourages gender equality by admonishing women to take positions in emerging markets and lose the 1950s mindset.

Along the lines of WYSK’s Tech Tuesday series, NPR highlights a college making strides to close the gender gap in computer science, along with a piece on computer programmer, Sarah Allen, who is “Blazing The Trail For Female Programmers.”

The Changing Lives Of Women Series Pieces

As an unmarried woman who just purchased a home last year, I was particularly interested in the piece which discussed how single women are beginning to dominate the real estate market by taking a share larger than that of single men, just behind married couples. The story follows Amanda Cowley and Kaleena Porter as each makes the decision to move out of her condo into a full size home of her own.

For ladies about to get married, you might be surprised to learn about marriage rituals in China that demand a “bride price”, making the cost of a wedding (and a wife) an expensive endeavor for men. Compliments of China’s one-child policy and the country’s traditional preference for boys, there are roughly 117 boys born for every 100 baby girls. “By one estimate, this means there could be 24 million Chinese men unable to find wives by the end of the decade.”

This scarcity of women has given rise to a new market in China… one in which women being wooed demand high ticket betrothal gifts – apartments, cars, outright cash – before they will consider saying “yes” to a suitor. The guy offering the best “deal” typically prevails, so Chinese men need to work really hard to acquire wealth if they want a shot at landing a Mrs. to grow old with. That puts women in a very powerful, albeit unromantic, negotiating position.

The Changing Lives Of Women Series Pieces 2

A wonderful thing about this series is the varied professions NPR chooses to highlight. The most recent subject, Sandra Aguebor-Ekperuoh, has changed the lives of over 300 women who have been trained in her Lady Mechanic Initiative, a program in Nigeria that prepares women for employment in the field of auto mechanics.

Be sure to check your local NPR station to keep up with this series that will continue for the next several weeks including topics such as maternity leave policies in other countries, women’s roles on television, the Mexican government’s challenge to address the needs of single mothers, aging childless women in the U.S., and women in politics.