Why Aren’t There More Women Entrepreneurs?
As an aspiring female entrepreneur myself, I think it’s natural to look around for others similar to you who have accomplished what you would like to accomplish, examine how they got from Point A to Point B, and then mimic that path to success yourself.
The problem with this strategy, however, is the dearth of female role models to follow. One statistic I read says that only 4% of start-ups are begun by women. This knowledge was initially hard for me to process, as I always thought that the same things that make women great managers (here go the stereotypes : empathy, communication skills, team-orientation) would similarly make them great entrepreneurs. Although in general I think many women enjoy "quality of life" tangibles and intangibles (nice clothes, hair appointments, dinners out, dating, vacations abroad, etc.), which being your own boss greatly inhibits you from enjoying in the short term, I really believe that many women just simply don't see entrepreneurship as an option for themselves. When we were growing up, we aspired to the usual standards of success- having a good career working for a recognized company, big paycheck, nice car, husband, kids. Most of us had never seen or heard of women starting their own companies or businesses, and thus this was something we never thought about aspiring to.
In order for women to make the move toward starting their own businesses/ companies, I think they need role models, as well as the tools and knowledge about how to make a start-up happen. Although entrepreneurship may not be the preferred career path for every woman, I do think more women would attempt it if they knew how and where to start, and could envision how this career choice and lifestyle can work for them, because ultimately I think that entrepreneurship is one of the few ways women can actually “have it all”. We set the rules, we create the work/ life balance we desire, and we create the environment in which we can flourish. The more women recognize this, the more we would see more women at the helm of the Groupon’s and Twitter’s of the world, hopefully inspiring the next generation of female entrepreneurs.
I myself have started seeking out female entrepreneurs. My sincere hope is that these stories will inspire someone to go ahead and give entrepreneurship a shot, which may in turn inspire another woman to do the same. Perhaps when more women see others who are founding and flourishing in their own businesses, entrepreneurship will become as common a career path for women as teaching or nursing.