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« A Back to the Future Journey in Marketing | Main | An Interesting Read: In Praise of Dissent »

August 31, 2010


Vee Sweeney

First, thank you for posting this! Women do start businesses for different reasons than men do. For example, I work for myself because it allows me more flexibility with the kids and other responsibilities. I also started working for myself because when the economy crashed, I was pushed out of my management position with a financial company and I decided to take control of my own destiny. Power to me is not about making a ton of money, it's about feeling good about what I think women and men differ a lot in that regard.

Lahle Wolfe

The National Center for Business Women's Research (October 2009) reported that 20.9% of all women-owned businesses (WOBs) were in the professional, scientific and tech industries. The next leading sector for WOBs was wholesale (13.4%.) These high numbers seem to indicate women are very interested in tech careers - they just hit more obstacles in men in the "real world." And so, they launch their own businesses. Trouble is, women have a significantly more difficult time in two important areas: access to venture capital and less they are awarded less then 3% of government contracts each year (despite federal law requiring a 5% "quota" be met.)

WOBs are now contributing nearly $3 trillion to the U.S. economy. In addition, WOBs create or maintain over 23 million jobs annually -- a job pool that makes up about 16 percent of the workforce. And, we also hold half of all jobs in the United State now. We are not lacking in numbers, so, why are we lacking in presence?

Let's look to the mainstream world of business. By year-end 2009 there were only 15 women CEOs running FORTUNE 500 companies including Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, the first African American female CEO in the United States. (In 2000, there were only three women CEOs running Fortune 500 Companies, so at least we have made some improvement.) So it is a little hard to name five top women in any field.

You make excellent points about women vs. men when it comes to starting and building businesses. Could it have to do with education and credentials?

Not likely. The truth is more women hold higher degrees than men -- they just are not rewarded in status or compensation for holding those higher degrees they way men are. And, more women are graduating from business school than men so again, it is not about women lacking in numbers (or MBAs.)

According to an article in the Washington Post, Weekly Edition, July 20-26, 2009 by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, companies that employ more women in upper level management are more profitable than those that rely heavily on male "talent" to run their businesses.

"...And it's not only one study, but at least half a dozen, from a broad spectrum of organizations such as Columbia University, McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs and Pepperdine University, that document a clear relationship between women in senior management and corporate financial success. By all measures, more women in your company means better performance."

As for books, putting management books aside, the industry as a whole favors male writers.

Publisher's Weekly's "Ten Best Books of 2009" was a list of who's who in male authors - not one female writer made the list (again.) There is tremendous gender discrimination that lives on in the publisher's realm.

In fact, when J.K. Rowling first began publishing the Harry Potter series, her publishers advised her to use her initials or a male pen name because "they didn’t think little boys would read her series."

The disparity in gender equality starts at a very young age (the cradle) and simply extends itself into adulthood.


Womens rocks in every field whether it is her professional or personal life!!

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