A dinner table lesson from Bill Gates
Can I go all the way? Could you?

Women in Tech: Start-up Envy

Yvonne-trans No, women don't have start-up envy. Or any other kind of envy, when it comes to being start-up, movers and shakers. We may lack a certain body part - which may or may not count when we go to the bank for a loan (I think it does much of the time, but I'm willing to be proven otherwise if you have data refuting my belief), but we want the same things our male counterparts want out of starting a business: success.

This GREAT article on TechCrunch does an excellent job dispelling the myth that women entrepreneurs are different than men entrepreneurs. This is a look at the desires and expectations, not at how differently women and men approach business.

Here's what Professor Vivek Wadhwa (author of the article) says, "We learned that the average age of a successful tech-company founder isn’t 21 as is commonly believed in Silicon Valley, but 39; or, in the broader universe of high-growth companies, 40. Founders of high-growth companies are likely to be married and to have two or more kids. They typically have six to ten years of work experience and real-world ideas. They start companies because they get tired of working for others and want to build wealth before they retire. What stops most people from embarking on the path to entrepreneurship is fear of failure and of the amount of time and effort required."

This in response to some folks who still say women cannot have a career and be a Mom, too.I-love-baby

I'm troubled by a number of issues raised by these assumptions. Granted, Prof Vivek Wadhwa did research to come to his conclusions, and the topic is related primarily to technology, but the fact that we are still debating this issue leaves me cold. Women, like men, have drive and ambition. Women, like men, want to succeed, whether it's at being Mom or being in the corner office, or both.

Women, differently than men, look at those things with a critical eye on how it will affect the family and how it will affect their ability to return to their career, post-Mom. Women, unlike men, are primarily responsible for caring for the home and children - even now - and need to always ask themselves, "How will I do this and have a family, too?" One article online at MoneyCentral.MSN notes that the cost of a woman giving up a career is $1 million. Something to think about, don't you think?

When was the last time a man had to ask, let alone answer, the, "how will I have a family" question? And, we know they never even consider the, "what am I giving up?" question.

Feminine-Ingenuity The issue isn't how different are men and women entrepreneurs, but how much support do men get at making their entrepreneurial idea work - compared to the support women get.

I like to think we're moving forward in this area. I like to think women who want to grow a business of their own will not allow old mythys and stereotypes hold them back. I like to think women today are the same, maybe even better, than women 100 years ago. Because even then, women were blazing trails in business and yes, in engineering. Despite the advent of Engineer Barbie (thank you Mary for that), women intent upon succeeding in a man's world - and yes, being an entrepreneur is still as much a man's world as the other typically male career paths - will succeed.

Not only that, women who have the nerve, the smarts, the talent, and the drive to start a business and work to make it a success, can also have babies.

No one said it was easy. Not for her, not for him. Not for us - the extended families.

Should women get better treatment? No. Just the same treatment. Why is that so hard for people to see... and do? 

Comments

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Lara

Thank you for writing this. My sister and I have been reading a ton of "women can't be entrepreneurs" posts recently and they're so depressing; it's so great to finally find an encouraging one!

Zane Safrit

Excellent post.

Passion, logic, supporting data and links, well-written. All the elements you deliver, have delivered, for...4 or 5 years here.

I'm with you on all of this and particularly..."but the fact that we are still debating this issue leaves me cold."

It astonishes me that there's still some 'dialogue' among seemingly well-educated, bright, intelligent folks who don't appear to live within an ideological echo-chamber. And this 'dialogue' is carried like it's original or insightful, even 'fair and balanced', reporting. It's almost like a nod-nod, wink-wink, "we're still researching this phenomena...we're not quite convinced yet."

Sheesh.

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