Friday, September 24, 2010

Where Are the Women?

Yesterday, I was one of three women on a 15-member judges panel for the GSEA student entrepreneur awards at USC. It was an interesting and inspiring event, but the two other female judges and I couldn't help but notice that all six contestants were young men. The business school dean at USC apparently has a tough time getting women to sign up as business majors, let alone start companies in school and compete in rigorous, international contests.

Today at BusinessWeek, we feature an annual survey of the 25 most promising entrepreneurs under 25. I contributed by writing about how young entrepreneurs can get funding.

The slideshow presents an impressive and creative group, many of them former college roommates, but something stuck out as I clicked through the list. There is one - count 'em, ONE - woman included. And her business is a partnership with a male entrepreneur.

Every day, it seems, I get pitched about "mommy entrepreneurs" - women who have young children and decide to run home-based businesses to accommodate their families. That's wonderful, I'm thrilled for them, but I have to wonder why so few young women study business and start companies when it would be much easier and more logical: Before they have spouses and children!

It's sad for me, in this day and age, to see how sparse the participation of women is in the business world. I realize that entrepreneurship, in particular, is a big risk that takes swagger, self-confidence and - some might say - "balls." I just hope that's not literally true.


  1. I suspect it's because girls (and often boys) don't see images of themselves as business people in popular culture. Or the business people they do see are often bad guys. Oh, well. Another area to encourage change.

  2. This seems odd to me, as I keep hearing statistics about women as business owners outnumbering men. Does this mean women are coming to it later? Or are these stats all about the momtrepreneurs?