Let’s Stop Focusing on Women
Hear me out. I am all for supporting my fellow women and their businesses, but I will support them because they are wonderful people with businesses worth supporting. None of us needed to be reminded that we are the minority in the business world, especially those of us in the STEM-business world – the realm I am in.
Studies have been done that have shown that in the STEM world (science, technology, engineering, and math), recruitment aimed at increasing “Women in Science!”, “Women in Engineering!”, etc., actually pushes women out of the field. Doesn’t that seem backward? Not really, when you think about it. By indicating that you want to increase the women in science, you are signaling that this is a man’s world and not something for women. I have long maintained that to increase the women in STEM, we should be focusing on exposing everyone to science and celebrating the accomplishments of everyone without making a big deal out of which gender they are.
The same can be said for women in business. Although the sheer number of women-owned business has gone up dramatically in recent years, average revenues of these businesses are still falling short of average revenues by privately-owned companies as a whole. Women receive 80% less capital funded than their male counterparts and women tend to choose lower growth industries than men – though this is showing some change recently!
The point is, we, as a gender, still have a lot of work to do supporting each other and pulling each other up. So, let’s not focus on the fact that these businesses are women-owned because there are so many other great things about them! If we keep pointing out that the businesses are run by women, it signals that the business world is a man’s world and will perpetuate the unfriendly nature to women. The business that we want to celebrate and showcase have so many good qualities to point out and the fact that they are run by women are happenstance.
To the women that would like to enter this world but are worried about the male-dominated culture: Create a solid business plan and find a mentor that will help you create it. This will help immensely in your first-year funding. Look beyond traditional sources of funding. Do not be afraid to negotiate with vendors/suppliers: this will lower your overhead costs and help your profits and revenues. Never stop innovating and evolving.