Why aren’t there more female founders? Don’t read this article if you want to know. Jessica Livingston wrote 2400 words about the topic and managed to address women once. In the fourth paragraph, in a measly twenty-seven words, she came to her conclusion and then moved on to general advice she’d give any person who was thinking about founding a startup. That’s a cop out.
“I wonder if it’s not that not enough women want to start startups, but that not enough women even consider it as an option.”
Yes. Yes, that, Jessica. You were on to something there, and then you aborted the mission. Were you afraid to dive into why women don’t consider it an option? Were you afraid to talk about gender biases? Were you afraid to talk about glass ceilings and equal pay? Did you not want to talk about how women have to change the way they speak in order to be taken seriously? Did you not want to mention the tongue-in-cheek but, sadly, true strategies for women in leadership to be viewed as non-threatening? And no mention of mansplaining?
Let’s get real about female founders
Those are all reasons why women don’t think founding a startup is a viable option. And there are more, of course. As the kids say, the struggle is real.
Livingston’s advice is good advice, but the article is a bait and switch. In the last paragraph, she writes, “What’s more likely to stop you is what would have stopped me: not realizing that a startup founder could have been someone like me…” Exactly. And that’s the problem that we need to solve. In one month, we’ll know who will be our new president. If Hillary Clinton is elected, every little girl will know that the President can be someone like her
How do we let little girls know that they can start companies and found startups?
We become more visible.
- Encourage the female entrepreneurs that you know. Be on their team.
- Invite more women to speak on your podcasts and at your conferences. We can do better than the token woman on the panel. Think bigger.
- Find a younger woman to mentor. I think it’s just as important for men to mentor women as it is for women to mentor women (and for women to mentor men (and for men to mentor men, but that’s really not the problem)).
- Read books by female entrepreneurs, too. When was the last time you did that?
Women are not one-size-fits-all.
We all have different dreams, but we were excluded from so many dreams for so long that we have to learn how to dream again. Once our minds have expanded enough to dream, we have to learn to believe we can take action. And men have to learn how to dream along with us.