I'm with Sheryl, women need to do more of the stepping forward. I spent the weekend with a family where the 16 year old daughter won the science fair project, yet the mother is encouraging to follow music. When I probed, she told me she plays the piccolo and, no, she has not won any music award. Her mother just thinks the piccolo is "lovely", but a recent trip to see Billy Elliott shocked them as the entire wind section f the orchestra was done by a key board.
I mentoned to the girl that if she loves science, she might think of the big salary that comes from getting a degree in engineering or science. I also told her there would be scholarships for a female. She can still play the piccolo as a hobby.
In the same line of thinking, Ruth Bastedo's article got me thinking that older women would be great foils for young start ups entrepreneurs. Ruth says:
A recent Catalyst study showed that companies with three or more women on their board of directors outperform those with fewer women by 53% on return on equity, 42% on return on sales, and 66% of return on invested capital (Joy et al., 2007). Moreover, the study found that the link between women board directors and corporate performance holds across industries. I am convinced that part of the reason for our startup’s success, was that, at all times, there was that strong female representation in the founding leadership team (with a female COO and VP Creative) that impacted all parts of the company, ranging from product and service development, client service, human resources, operations, and business development. Our “secret sauce” was the diversity in our leadership team.If diverse startup teams can be so successful, why are they so rare? Among other factors, the following reasons contribute to the rarity of women on startup teams:
- There are few women who have a background in technology.Women looking to work with a technology startup are more likely to have a background in sales, project management, marketing, legal issues, or human resources. Even in my case, when I did my new media training at the Vancouver Film School in 1995, there were four women in my class of about 25. To make matters worse, the numbers of women enrolling in computer science at universities is actually dwindling, as will be discussed later.
- There are very few venture capitalists and investors who are women. Women who are investors are at least likely to connect with women on startup teams. In the United States, investment firms with at least one woman partner are 70% more likely to invest in a women entrepreneur than firms that have only make partners, according to a whitepaper published by the venture capitalist firm Illuminate Ventures.
- There is no incentive for change. Having young women in key leadership roles is challenging. My partners were not thrilled that I took two maternity leaves, albeit short ones, within two years. People in general are very comfortable with the status quo, and the technology community has a comfortable homogeneity when it comes to the model for success. But as one recent columnist, Natasha Mooney, said, “Hiring your first woman employee when you’re a 30-person company is far more difficult than when you’re a 5-person company.”
Read the full article.