Hanna Rosin wrote an Atlantic Magazine article in 2010 (July/August) called “The End of Men.” Among other facts she noted that women now make up the majority of the US workforce: They make up 54% of accountants, 45% of law associates and 50% of all banking and insurance jobs.
I noticed March was Women’s History Month. It got me thinking about women and entrepreneurship. I’ve been getting to know more and more of my female fellows lately. I’m learning things. Harold Pinter, in one of his early plays has a character say this: “I know little of women. But I have heard dread tales.” Nah. And Freud asks plaintively, “What do women want?” (To which Bill Cosby says, “The only thing I have learned in fifty-two years is that women want men to stop asking dumb questions like that.”)
Though I can’t really prove it, it seems to me that female entrepreneurs are quietly growing in numbers, prominence, confidence and influence. I do know that 57% of college attendees are now women and, according to a new report from American Express Open Forum, more women are starting businesses. According to this report (called State of Women-Owned Businesses) American women are starting 550 new business a day. The women’s start-up rate in the last year increased 54%, much higher than for men.
In an recent article in Entrepreneur (March 23, 2012), Carol Tice conjectures on women’s increasing presence in business. She enumerates three reasons:
- The growth of women’s networking activities. She cites such groups as Ladies Who Launch and Wild Woman Entrepreneurs, but there are many others.
- Women are finding more acceptance among angel investors and venture firms.
- The Internet. It has made it easier for women to start businesses at home while juggling childcare responsibilities.
I think I could add more reasons than Ms. Tice enumerates.
To my mind, women are better team builders than men. And they are better listeners, have more open minds than men and are less inclined to be autocratic. These are good qualities in relating to a modern, less hierarchical workplace.
In an article in Time Magazine in 2009 Claire Shipman and Katty Kay wrote a piece entitled “Women Will Rule Business,” They quote projections from the Chartered Management Institute in England predicting that by 2018 the world will be much more fluid and virtual and the demand for female strengths of collegiality and management will grow exponentially.
Also, I think women instinctively understand the need for harmony and balance. Perhaps I am a bit of a womanish entrepreneur myself, as I find the meaning entrepreneurship gives and supports in my life is at least as important as the money it imparts. Women unquestionably understand better than men the value of entrepreneurship in creating happiness, as well as wealth.
So–what do women want? Probably the same damn thing men want. They just understand certain things better.
In a recent biographical movie about Margaret Thatcher, she comments, “If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done ask a woman.” Well, hush my mouth.