Nov 23, 2011  •  In Career, Finance, Guest Posts

Guest Post: It’s the Economy, Ladies

Today we welcome back guest blogger Susan. I have always admired her professionalism and diplomatic approach to feminism, and this post certainly does not disappoint.

What do you think? Do you believe the financial crisis may not have happened if women had been in charge? Do you think that women need to take a more proactive and entrepreneurial role in this economy?

After the financial crisis that put this country in it’s current mess, I saw lots of speculation floating around that if women had been in charge of our financial institutions, this would never have happened. Interesting. Now women are being looked at as a possible fix for our unemployment woes.

Women in tech is a recurring feature on my blog, mostly because I am one. So I’m really excited to see some research from the Kauffman foundation recommending a focus on science and technology startups created by women to help our economy. More jobs are better any way you slice it, of course. Is encouraging women to found their own companies the way to get things moving? It’s certainly worth a try given that some other things meant to stimulate our economy haven’t really done the trick.

You don’t have to look hard to find the stats on how many men start their own companies when compared with women. This research article even mentions that the rate of women patenting research is lower than men in similar fields. Women in scientific fields also seem to gravitate more toward non profits and universities than the for profit world. There are many reasons people suspect more women in all industries don’t start their own companies; lack of networking opportunities, lack of funding opportunities, even lack of confidence are all considered culprits.

Starting a company, tech or otherwise is a big commitment. There are the barriers to entry that people love to site in articles about the lack of women in tech. But there is another camp entirely who believe that opportunities or not, most women just aren’t interested. The argument here is that women may prefer a more collaborative role to a strictly managerial one. Some prefer more “social” job positions like sales and marketing. And the most obvious one; if you are the COO of your home and family, you probably already have enough on your plate without trying to launch your own business.

I’m not sure which (if any) of those are the reason for where we are now. There is certainly enough speculation floating around about it. What I’m really interested in is if any of these strategies to empower women actually produce results. Most people can agree that there should be more women in tech, but nothing has actually changed just yet. I think all the unemployed people out there would agree that we can’t really wait around to find out if it will. Regardless of who helms the next wave of innovative companies, no one would argue that start ups are an important source of new jobs. Somebody needs to get cracking.

Image by mant.

About the Author:

Susan Cruickshank is a feminist, blogger and owner of too many pairs of trousers. She puts her own spin on women’s career and other work-related issues on her blog Wearing the Trousers. When not blogging, Susan enjoys the Boston music scene as fan and sometimes performer and spending time with her husband Rob. Her other favorite activity is posting ridiculous pictures of her cats on Facebook.

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