What are we waiting for?
It was a necessity but started to create a societal shift in women’s participation in the workforce. Since WWI, with the vast majority of soldiers being men fighting abroad, women had to step out of the homes and into businesses of all kinds. A century ago we made a societal shift to improve gender equality because we needed to. Today, we are in the COVID19 crisis with growing death tolls and catastrophic economic impacts only just beginning.
Significantly improving gender equality has strong economic and other net positive impacts. The European Institute for Gender Equality did a thorough economic analysis and found at our current rates of change by 2050:
- an additional 10.5 million jobs would be created benefiting both women and men;
- lead to an increase in EU (GDP) per capita by 6.1 to 9.6%, which amounts to €1.95 to €3.15 trillion
- an increase in women’s salaries to reduce the gender pay gap can lower poverty rates among women, fertility rates and increase access to old-age pensions (EIGE, 2016).
We’ve now entered an era where entrepreneurs are becoming the new celebrities, we watch in awe as they completely disrupt industries and quickly climb the wealthiest in the world ladder. ‘Wantrepreneurs’, people thinking about or wanting to start their own business, are at an all-time high, but start-ups (and our role model Founders) are still predominately dominated by men.
Female Founders have in driving economic growth, hiring more women in leadership roles and often performing better in year-on-year growth than their male counterparts. According to this Huffington Post article, in the United States, women-owned businesses are credited with creating or maintaining 23 million jobs, generating $3 Trillion in revenue each year and on average generate 60% more value for investors than those founded by men.
In this ‘Mapped: The Top Female Founder in Each Country’ article they noted since 2013, women-led unicorns have jumped from 4 to 21 in 2019. These numbers are growing but the structural gender inequalities, such as the 3% of total investment dollars globally going to female-led ventures cause more difficulty to do so.
We are now in one of the largest public health and economic crises of our lifetimes. In order for our us to truly tackle humanities biggest challenges, we need to be as diverse and representative as the people, problem and perspectives we seek to change. What’s stopping us from taking drastic measures, as we did a century ago, to fully-equip Female Founders to drive this needed change?