Scooch over Bill Gates, Mark Z and Elon Musk – there’s a new head honcho in town and she’s changing the marketplace.
Women aren’t just moving up and over salary caps and gender roles – they’re moving out of old models all together and re-inventing the business-sphere as we know it. Welcome to the rise of the female entrepreneur.
Harvard Business Review reported in 2013 that “women-owned entities in the formal sector represent approximately 37% of enterprises globally — a market worthy of attention by businesses and policymakers alike.” Daily Infographic predicts that by 2018 women will create more than half of the new jobs in the U.S. and that “women-owned firms are more likely to offer flextime, tuition reimbursement and profit sharing.”
In the workplace, women have always been penalized for essentially not being male. We ‘re paid less, offered less opportunities and expected to only look at the market through blue tinted glasses. But The Harvard Review reports that “Dow Jones research on venture-backed companies in the U.S. found those that were successful had twice the number of women on the founding team.”
What’s changing? Everything.
We’re talking about ½ the population who wasn’t legally allowed to get a bank loan without a man co-signing until 1974. 1974, people! These women have something to say, a perspective to offer – and innovation that doesn’t just rival their male counterparts, but is capable of surpassing it. This “trend” isn’t just American born and bred either, it’s a global movement that’s making waves on the world stage.
A recent British study reports “Over the period 2009-2014 the number of self-employed women increased by a remarkable 34%. In comparison, the rate of increase amongst men is less than half, reaching approximately 15%.”
A similar study conducted in China yielded related results, citing that “female entrepreneurs build closer trust relationships with their informal resources, especially with their families, relatives and friends, since their networks tend not to include more formal agents and information sources. Women’s lack of access to formal business networks means they create different networks from those of men.”Our lack of “tradition” in entrepreneurial roles is actually helping us as we widen the playing field. Everyone is a business prospect, every connection a potential client, customer or employee. In other words, history has shaped us to have to think like a leader – even before we were recognized as one.
Since 2013 Sheryl Sandberg has been telling us to Lean In. Amy Poehler launched Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls and on the less visible scale my brother went from dating mostly nurses and teachers to software developers and wealth coaches. Women are leading the way from specialized niches to big business and finance. To see evidence, you only have to hop, skip and click on over to Entrepreneur.com and check out their top 15 Female Entrepreneurs to watch in 2015. These lady bosses run the gamut from Caroline Pugh and her much-anticipated 3D fitness body scanner, to Bridget Hilton, the founder of LSTN headphones who donates a pair of hearing aids to deaf children across the globe for every pair sold. Entrepreneur boasts that “this startup has already been able to help 19,000 people.”
In a world where only ½ of the population has been primarily represented, it’s both exciting and fascinating to witness business and social entrepreneurship (many times a good mix of both) blossom where before, without female perspective and experience, these innovations in both product and procedure were impossible. Cheers to the new era of female leadership. In the ever-wise words of Facebook memes: Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.